Sarah Palin Adds Commentary About “Death Panels” [Update: Palin Supported The Same Provisions She Now Decries As “Euthanasia”]

Ken AshfordElection 2012, Health CareLeave a Comment

Just before midnight last night, Sarah Palin posted a "note" on her Facebook page, apparently in response to Obama's comments about "death panels", a phrase that Sarah herself introduced into this increasingly-insane health care debate.

What's interesting about Sarah's note is that it cites legislation, contains footnotes, and makes a cogent (albeit wrong) argument.  No references to the military, or the flag, or Trig, or the liberal media, or any of the other Palinisms we've come to know and love.  It's grammatically correct, and even includes a semi-colon!

In other words, she clearly didn't write it herself.

But let's set that aside, because now (finally) we can address the substance of something that Sarah has said (now that she has provided substance).

Basically, she expands on her earlier "death panel" note… without using the phrase "death panel" this time.  She cites advance directive provision of HR 1233.

"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."

You see, Sarah concedes that the getting information to Medicare recipients about end-of-life health issues (living wills, hospice, etc.) IS voluntary, but if the information provided is "coercive", then it is not truly voluntary.

Which, I suppose, is a fair point, but — no, no, not really.  What is the basis for thinking that such information might be "coercive"?  And how does that become "death panels"?

An elderly woman goes to her doctor (not a panel) to get information about living wills and hospice care.  Medicare, under the advance directive provision, will pay for that once every five years (or more, if the circumstances require).  Other than footing the bill, where is this government in this transaction?  This elderly woman (in my example) is talking to her own doctor.

My point?  Crazy nonsensical arguments, even when properly articulated, are still crazy nonsensical arguments.

But we appreciate the effort, Sarah.


Shorter Greg Scanlon of The American Spectator:

The health care legislation says nothing about death panels, but I can think of a way where it might be twisted into the creation of death panels in theory.  Therefore, Palin was correct.

Yup.  And the health care legislation also says nothing about harvesting the organs of the poor to be used by the rich when the rich fall ill.    But just because something is theoretically possible, doesn't mean it is, you know, real, or even likely.


On April 16th 2008, then Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed some of the same end of life counseling she now decries as a form of euthanasia. In a proclamation announcing “Healthcare Decisions Day,” Palin urged public facilities to provide better information about advance directives, and made it clear that it is critical for seniors to be informed of such options:

WHEREAS, Healthcare Decisions Day is designed to raise public awareness of 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 and to encourage the specific use of advance directives to communicate these important healthcare decisions. […]

WHEREAS, one of the principal goals of Healthcare Decisions Day is to encourage hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and hospices to participate in a statewide effort to provide clear and consistent information to the public about advance directives, as well as to encourage medical professionals and lawyers to volunteer their time and efforts to improve public knowledge and increase the number of Alaska’s citizens with advance directives.

WHEREAS, the Foundation for End of Life Care in Juneau, Alaska, and other organizations throughout the United States have endorsed this event and are committed to educating the public about the importance of discussing healthcare choices and executing advance directives.

Though this proclamation is now deleted from the Alaska governor’s website, it shows that Palin’s current fear-mongering is purely political.