Obama Wrongly Says Senator Backs Pro-Euthanasia Provisions in Health Care

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 12, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Wrongly Says Senator Backs Pro-Euthanasia Provisions in Health Care

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 12
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama mentioned the name of a Georgia senator during his defense of the health care bills in a New Hampshire town hall on Tuesday. But, Sen. Johnny Isakson doesn’t appreciate Obama erroneously using him to justify problematic provisions in the House version of the bill.

The House version of the government-run health care system, HR 3200, contains sections that are causing concern for pro-life advocates.

The bill would financially reward physicians who have end-of-life discussions with patients, even if they encourage patients to consider assisted suicide or to revoking life saving medical treatment or food and water.

In an attempt to diffuse the opposition, Obama said the House provision was endorsed by at least one Republican lawmaker and cited Isakson by name.

There’s just one thing wrong with Obama’s characterization of Isakson’s position — it’s wrong.

"Isakson vehemently opposes the House and Senate health care bills, and he played no role in drafting language added to the House bill by House Democrats calling for the government to incentivize doctors by offering them money to conduct end-of-life counseling," Isakson’s office said initially.

Later, Isakson went further.

“This is what happens when the President and members of Congress don’t read the bills. The White House and others are merely attempting to deflect attention from the intense negativity caused by their unpopular policies. I never consulted with the White House in this process and had no role whatsoever in the House Democrats’ bill,” Isakson said.

Isakson did not sponsor the controversial House language but is the bringer of an amendment in the Senate that is quite different.

His amendment would allow patients to receive the end-of-life counseling but does not provide financial motivation to physicians who participate in Medicare to urge them to do so.

“My Senate amendment simply puts health care choices back in the hands of the individual and allows them to consider if they so choose a living will or durable power of attorney," Isakson previously told the Washington Post.

"The House provision is merely another ill-advised attempt at more government mandates, more government intrusion, and more government involvement in what should be an individual choice," he says.

The White House has attempted to clarify Obama’s comments and said he was referring to a 2007 bill that Isakson co-sponsored in the Senate and not the pending health care bills in the Senate.

The statement offered no revision of Obama’s statement or apology for it. Instead, it attempted to siphon more support from Isakson by pointing out his comments saying there are no "death panels" in the bills.

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