Friday, August 14, 2009
Sarah Palin has the kind of influence that equates to power, plain and simple. I engaged in a Twitter conversation yesterday with an anti-Palin, pro-Obama guy. The crazy thing about it is we both went for the jugular, and when it was over, it was like, "All right, catch you later, brother." "Yep, catch you later, sis. I enjoy debating you." In other words, hey...it's all good. I'll keep fighting, and I have a feeling, he will too.
One piece of that conversation involved his telling me that President Obama doesn't spend any time thinking about Sarah Palin. I responded by saying, "Well, then he's a magician also because it's hard to keep quoting someone you're not thinking about."
Now what was I talking about? The president did a Town Hall meeting in New Hampshire a couple days ago...and I was just waiting for it. Sure enough, it came. He couldn't help himself. He just had to refer to Sarah's "death panel" statement. I was waiting, and I wasn't disappointed. Sarah is SO in his head, it's ridiculous. Although the White House continues to say that they waste not one moment thinking about Sarah Palin, the truth is you can't keep quoting someone you're not paying attention to--and then to quote her in a Town Hall meeting! I mean, we knew she was in his head during the campaign, but she has gotten more powerful after losing the election! So anyone who says that Sarah is insignificant is just being dishonest. More importantly, anyone who states that President Obama is not paying attention to Sarah Palin is underestimating him. Yes, underestimating him, not Sarah. Why do I say that? It's simple: If he's just half as smart as people say he is, and if he is the politician he appears to be, he'd have to be paying attention to her because he'd be stupid not to. And President Obama may be many things, but stupid is not one of them. Besides, like I said, if he's not, then he must be a magician because he manages to quote someone he never thinks about!
The sad aspect of this is while he was defending himself against Sarah's comments, making it appear to be simple fearmongering and screaming "boogeyman!" on her part, people in the meeting were giggling about it. Do you think Sarah backed down? Come on, now. Sarah doesn't back down when she believes in something. Instead, she released this statement on her Facebook page:
Well, after Sarah caused such a stir with her statement about "death panels," after the Obama media got all bent out of shape about it, after the president found it necessary to deny it by misrepresenting what she said as "pulling the plug on Grandma," we find out yesterday that the end of life provision has now been removed from the bill! Now that's what I call influence. Of course, the president and his people are paying attention to Sarah. When the woman can type something on her Facebook page and get a provision removed, well, what would you call that?! Today radio talk show host and author, Tammy Bruce, called Sarah the 101st senator of the United States because she can "type, type, type, send, and get a change in the Health Care Bill!" Yep, that about says it. But I can do even better than that: Sarah is not only the 101st senator; she's the magician, for how else could she issue a statement that makes Congress remove something that they said wasn't in there to begin with?!
Concerning the "Death Panels"
Wed at 11:55pm
Yesterday President Obama responded to my statement that Democratic health care proposals would lead to rationed care; that the sick, the elderly, and the disabled would suffer the most under such rationing; and that under such a system these “unproductive” members of society could face the prospect of government bureaucrats determining whether they deserve health care.
The President made light of these concerns. He said:
“Let me just be specific about some things that I’ve been hearing lately that we just need to dispose of here. The rumor that’s been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we’ve decided that we don’t, it’s too expensive to let her live anymore....It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they’re ready on their own terms. It wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything.” 
The provision that President Obama refers to is Section 1233 of HR 3200, entitled “Advance Care Planning Consultation.”  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.
Section 1233 authorizes advanced care planning consultations for senior citizens on Medicare every five years, and more often “if there is a significant change in the health condition of the individual ... or upon admission to a skilled nursing facility, a long-term care facility... or a hospice program."  During those consultations, practitioners must explain “the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice,” and the government benefits available to pay for such services. 
Now put this in context. These consultations are authorized whenever a Medicare recipient’s health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home, and they are part of a bill whose stated purpose is “to reduce the growth in health care spending.”  Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care? As Charles Lane notes in the Washington Post, Section 1233 “addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones.... If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to “bend the curve” on health-care costs?” 
As Lane also points out:
Though not mandatory, as some on the right have claimed, the consultations envisioned in Section 1233 aren’t quite “purely voluntary,” as Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) asserts. To me, “purely voluntary” means “not unless the patient requests one.” Section 1233, however, lets doctors initiate the chat and gives them an incentive -- money -- to do so. Indeed, that’s an incentive to insist.
Patients may refuse without penalty, but many will bow to white-coated authority. Once they’re in the meeting, the bill does permit “formulation” of a plug-pulling order right then and there. So when Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) denies that Section 1233 would “place senior citizens in situations where they feel pressured to sign end-of-life directives that they would not otherwise sign,” I don’t think he’s being realistic. 
Even columnist Eugene Robinson, a self-described “true believer” who “will almost certainly support” “whatever reform package finally emerges”, agrees that “If the government says it has to control health-care costs and then offers to pay doctors to give advice about hospice care, citizens are not delusional to conclude that the goal is to reduce end-of-life spending.” 
So are these usually friendly pundits wrong? Is this all just a “rumor” to be “disposed of”, as President Obama says? Not according to Democratic New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Chairman of the New York State Senate Aging Committee, who writes:
Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 puts our senior citizens on a slippery slope and may diminish respect for the inherent dignity of each of their lives.... It is egregious to consider that any senior citizen ... should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would, be required to be counseled about the supposed benefits of killing oneself, or be encouraged to sign any end of life directives that they would not otherwise sign. 
Of course, it’s not just this one provision that presents a problem. My original comments concerned statements made by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy advisor to President Obama and the brother of the President’s chief of staff. Dr. Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens....An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”  Dr. Emanuel has also advocated basing medical decisions on a system which “produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.” 
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 advisors are clear enough. 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.
- Sarah Palin
 See http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/08/president-obama-addresses-sarah-palin-death-panels-wild-representations.html.
 See http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf
 See HR 3200 sec. 1233 (hhh)(1); Sec. 1233 (hhh)(3)(B)(1), above.
 See HR 3200 sec. 1233 (hhh)(1)(E), above.
 See http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf
 See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080703043.html].
 See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081002455.html].
 See http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/letter-congressman-henry-waxman-re-section-1233-hr-3200.
 See http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/Where_Civic_Republicanism_and_Deliberative_Democracy_Meet.pdf See http://www.scribd.com/doc/18280675/Principles-for-Allocation-of-Scarce-Medical-Interventions.
Read about the change:
WASHINGTON – Key senators are excluding a provision on end-of-life care from health overhaul legislation after language in a House bill caused a furor.Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Thursday that the provision had been dropped from consideration because it could be misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly.
Read more about this here.
Even though the end of life provision has been removed, Sarah Palin says it's not enough. Early this morning, Sarah released this new statement on her Facebook page:
Troubling Questions Remain About Obama's Health Care Plan
Today at 1:11am
I join millions of Americans in expressing appreciation for the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to remove the provision in the pending health care bill that authorizes end-of-life consultations (Section 1233 of HR 3200). It’s gratifying that the voice of the people is getting through to Congress; however, that provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation; it was just one of the more obvious ones.
As I noted in my statement last week, nationalized health care inevitably leads to rationing. There is simply no way to cover everyone and hold down the costs at the same time. The rationing system proposed by one of President Obama’s key health care advisors is particularly disturbing. I’m speaking of the “Complete Lives System” advocated by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the president’s chief of staff. President Obama has not yet stated any opposition to the “Complete Lives System,” a system which, if enacted, would refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential.  Why the silence from the president on this aspect of his nationalization of health care? Does he agree with the “Complete Lives System”? If not, then why is Dr. Emanuel his policy advisor? What is he advising the president on? I just learned that Dr. Emanuel is now distancing himself from his own work and claiming that his “thinking has evolved” on the question of rationing care to benefit the strong and deny the weak.  How convenient that he disavowed his own work only after the nature of his scholarship was revealed to the public at large.
The president is busy assuring us that we can keep our private insurance plans, but common sense (and basic economics) tells us otherwise. The public option in the Democratic health care plan will crowd out private insurers, and that’s what it’s intended to do. A single payer health care plan has been President Obama’s agenda all along, though he is now claiming otherwise. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what he said back in 2003:
“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care plan.... A single payer health care plan – universal health care plan – that’s what I would like to see.” 
A single-payer health care plan might be what Obama would like to see, but is it what the rest of us would like to see? What does a single payer health care plan look like? We need look no further than other countries who have adopted such a plan. The picture isn’t pretty.  The only way they can control costs is to ration care. As I noted in my earlier statement quoting Thomas Sowell, government run health care won’t reduce the price of medical care; it will simply refuse to pay the price. The expensive innovative procedures that people from all over the world come to the United States for will not be available under a government plan that seeks to cover everyone by capping costs.
Read the rest here, along with the sources she cites.
Sarah Palin has chosen to bypass the mainstream media for now, the media that is so clearly in the tank for Obama, and she's simply utilizing social networking sites to get her message out--and Tammy Bruce is correct: All Sarah has to do is type and hit send--and it's all over. Who would have thought one could use Facebook to help win this health care battle? It is clear that Sarah knows more about this Health Care Bill than members of Congress. She knows what she's talking about, and she is studying experts on the issue.
I have one more thing to say: I bet you those on the far Left regret that Sarah was ever asked the demeaning question, "What do you read?" you know, the question she chose to ignore. Hey, Katie, now you have a whole list of her reading material--and you and the Obama administration don't like it too much, do you?!