Palin, Gingrich, Grassley Supported End of Life Counseling…A.K.A. Death Panels

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Republican presidential wannabes Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich have argued that expanding Medicare coverage to include end-of-life counseling will amount to creating “death panels” so the government can euthanize seniors. But if both politicians really believe this to be true, then why did they endorse such counseling in the past?

On April 16, 2008, which was proclaimed “Healthcare Decisions Day” in Alaska, then-governor Palin endorsed “the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions, related to end of life care and medical decision-making whenever patients are unable to speak for themselves ….”
Earlier this year, Gingrich publicly praised a hospital system in Wisconsin for its cost-effective “advanced directive program”—the term used by the medical industry for end-of-life decisions. He said the Gundersen Lutheran hospital system was “the least expensive place in America for the last two years of life. They have an advanced directive program, and over 90% of their patients have an advanced directive.”
And what about Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who told a crowd in Adel, Iowa, on Wednesday that “You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life”? In 2003 he voted for the Medicare prescription bill that provided funding for “counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Oh, Those Death Panels (by Amy Sullivan, Time)


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