Sarah Palin Defends "Death Panels" Statement on Health Care, Challenges Obama

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 13, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Sarah Palin Defends "Death Panels" Statement on Health Care, Challenges Obama

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 13
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Former Alaska governor and possible 2012 presidential candidate Sarah Palin is not backing down from her charge that the House health care bill includes "death panels." Palin faced significant criticism after saying provisions in the measure could lead to euthanasia or rationing of medical care.

Last week, Palin posted a well-received note on Facebook saying she worries the health care bill will be paid for on the backs of the elderly and disabled, who could be pushed into euthanasia and assisted suicide via rationing of medical treatment.

"And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course," she said.

"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," Palin says. "Such a system is downright evil."

The Obama administration, joined by liberal groups and Internet activists, attacked Palin for the comments and claimed the bill did not contain such concerns.

In a response issued today on the popular social networking web site, Palin offered no apologies for her frank assessment of the problems with the bill.

"President Obama can try to gloss over the effects of government authorized end-of-life consultations, but the views of one of his top health care advisers are clear enough," she said.

"It’s all just more evidence that the Democratic legislative proposals will lead to health care rationing, and more evidence that the top-down plans of government bureaucrats will never result in real health care reform," Palin added.

The comments hearken back to her first remarks and pertain to Ezekiel Emanuel, an Obama advisor who works at the Office of Management and Budget and is the chief architect of the health care bills. He has come under criticism from pro-life advocates for views that are considered well outside the mainstream.

Palin’s new comments are very analytical and they include 11 footnotes, linking to bill texts, government reports, articles and supportive commentary.

Palin’s earlier comments and her rebuttal are focused on Section 1233 of the bill, which has been criticized as making it so physicians are given financial incentives to urge patients to hold end-of-life discussions with them that could pave the way for euthanasia or rationing.

"With all due respect, it’s misleading for the President to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context," Palin writes.

That’s similar to the views expressed by not only leading pro-life groups but Charles Lane, an editorial page writer for the liberal Washington Post.

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