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August 12, 2009

"Death Panels" and the war of words over health care reform

The White House launched full court press against what it says is misinformation being spread about health care reform by protesters at raucous town halls nationwide.

On Monday, the administration released a new website aimed at countering the attacks and at a town hall Tuesday, President Obama said flat out: his health care plan won't "pull the plug on grandma."

He was referring to euthanasia claims made by fierce opponents to reform proposals, including none other than Sarah Palin, who said on her Facebook page that the "downright evil" plan will lead to health care rationing:

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care."

Now, let's get this straight. Palin was referring to a provision that would allow Medicare to reimburse doctors for consulting seniors about living wills, advanced directives and end-of-life care. Sound like a death panel to you? The Associated Press says there's nothing in the bill about "death panels". Pulitzer-prize winning also debunks the claim. And if you're interested, here's the actual bill with the information -- see pg. 425,.

As politicians, interest groups and lobbyists of all stripes try to put their spin on the debate, it can be tough to figure out who is telling the truth. Not to mention, the major health care bills are more than 1,000 pages long and very complex. 

Here's a look at how folks are trying to sorting out fact and fiction in this debate. Let us know if you have any others to share.

image from iStockphoto

Posted by Kelly Brewington at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Health care reform


"Young" emergency room doctors in early 2001-2001 time frame asked family if we wanted 90+ grandmothers (two different people--two separate occasions) treated because, after all, they were so old! We adamantly said of course they should be treated. One lived to be 100 and the other had several good years of life after that as well! This was a Republican (Bush) era mindset along with his removal of most regulation from nursing homes. The nursing home corporations continue to abuse and neglect (even rape) patients (no, they are not "residents"--they are in the facility for skilled nursing care!). The Bush years are when the elderly found themselves being treated this way; we need to be aware that someone needs to "clean up that mess" too! Christian conservative is such an interesting term. Christian--NO! Conservative--with all their millions (if having those multi-million dollar mansions is considered conservative)? Just preventing abortions doesn't prove taking care of one's life. Caring for homeless, starving "born" children and adults is as important--until natural death. Think about these real life situations, please.

as a primary care geriatrician this amazing distortion by Palin and others made my blood boil. discussions of end of life issues is NOT a new thing for many physicians and patients. and while it may somtimes be uncomfortable, it is generally of great value and often welcomed by patients and families.

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About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.

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