It is all about spin, knowledge and facts. The notion that the federal government will decide when Americans “plan” on dying is nonsense at the center of the healthcare debate. Sarah Palin chimed in yesterday that she did not want her parents or children standing in front of “Obama’s death panel.”
Stop right there and let me give my take on the difference between misinformation and lying. Sarah Palin, who I want to defend because we are the same age, is not lying in my opinion nor did she lie during the campaign last year. She actually believes what she is saying so she is at best misinformed or at worst dim and does not know it. Please understand the difference: one is to knowingly lie and the other is simply being wrong. When I saw those protesters on T.V. this week, I knew they weren’t lying and were sincere. The liars are the guys in D.C. on K Street and in New York on Wall Street and Madison Avenue who designed the campaign to mislead regular folks and stop health care reform for your corporate bosses. I must say that those guys are good at what they do.
At the center of this drama was Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia…reluctantly. MSNBC claims that the heath care provision which would fund “end of life” counseling is similar to a provision originally introduced in committee by Isakson. I tried to find information about this claim on the web and on Isakson’s website. What I did find after spending a good part of my Saturday morning is that Isakson’s concerns with the Democrats proposals sound reasonable to me and that Isakson and others do have alternative plans. As a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, Isakson is up on his game and we can count on him negotiating rather than just stonewalling like other conservatives.
Isakson and no other members of congress want death panels. From what I see, the optional counseling is an option about final options. Much of the cost of patient care occurs during the last month of life and some people decide to have DNR orders (that’s Do Not Resuscitate, not Department of Natural Resources for us outdoors types). If people want to talk with someone about those plans, their insurance would pay for the meeting. If you have buried a loved one, you know that people should consider deciding that stuff themselves years earlier so they can go how they want to go and remove family from making the decisions at the worst times.
In summary, spin-doctors knowingly distorted a provision in the health care reform proposal to scare old people and incite conflict. I must say that both sides play this game. When I was a congressional staffer, the Clinton administration bragged about reducing or cutting spending for a program in their budget. When I looked at the numbers, funding went up for that program over the previous years. So, program XYZ received $70 million one year and more the next year but they told me they reduced the rate of growth from the Bush years. Before, that program grew by 10% every year but under Clinton it is only growing by 5%–that’s a reduction. Do I look stupid? (Don’t answer that.) I told that guy that a reduction from $70 million would be less than $70 million and being cute with numbers and spin was not cool.