Tag Archives: healthcare

Lie of the Year: ‘Death Panels’

And the "Lie of the Year" winner is ... Sarah Palin!!

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

Death panels.”

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really?”

The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural “Lie of the Year.”

PolitiFact readers overwhelmingly supported the decision. Nearly 5,000 voted in a national poll to name the biggest lie, and 61 percent chose “death panels” from a field of eight finalists. (See the complete results.)

This is the story of how two words generated intense heat in the national debate over health care.

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Palin’s Dangerous Anti-Intellectualism

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin signed a book outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids on Wednesday evening.

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin signed a book outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids on Wednesday evening.

A dangerous divide has been developing for some years in America, between those who are comfortable negotiating the wide array of knowledge and information sources now available, and those who are not. It is in many aspects a class divide, one side characterized by wealth, professional degrees, security and complacency, the other by shrinking incomes and high credit card debt, anxiety about the future, and anger at those in power.

One U.S. Senator, Jim Webb of Virginia, recently called this America’s greatest present danger, more potent than our international entanglements, the financial crisis, health care, energy or environment. The “tea party” protests over health care and immigration policy are one manifestation of that divide. Another, related, is the current response to Sarah Palin.

Palin has become the champion of a new wave of populism. People attracted to her are outraged over federal bailouts for Wall Street bankers, resentful of benefits accorded illegal immigrants, incensed over the notion of federally funded abortions, and perhaps most disturbing, suspicious of education. A fairly consistent analysis of the Palin phenomenon concludes that she is the happy beneficiary of this protest coalition, having happened into her celebrity role by the accident of timing, a willing but passive instrument. But her willing embrace of the role of symbolic embodiment of protest makes her as much a generator as recipient of it.

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Mangling Everything In Her Path, Typhoon Sarah Blows Into Asia

Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, criticized for her lack of foreign policy experience, emerged in Asia on Wednesday to share her views from "Main Street U.S.A." with a group of high-flying global investors.

Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, criticized for her lack of foreign policy experience, emerged in Asia on Wednesday to share her views from "Main Street U.S.A." with a group of high-flying global investors.

Grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre, unbelievable. Sarah Palin was all of that in Hong Kong yesterday. And more. Dressed in a cutesy virgin-white blouse and black skirt with the infamous bee-hive hairdo, she was a blessing to every predicting spectator.

“There’ll be one or two self-deprecating remarks, a reference to healthcare, taxation, out-of-control spending and a poorly told joke,” my investor companion muttered when the lady walked on to the stage of the Hyatt conference room. All he forgot was the bit about Islamic terror. Alas, she did not fail us. “No recording, no photography, no video tapes, no mobile phones,” they kept shouting over the public address system. And you could see why.

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Sarah Palin can see China from Hong Kong

Former U.S. vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, holding a local newspaper with her picture printed on, arrives at the check-in counter at Hong Kong airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009 as Palin is leaving Hong Kong for the U.S.

Former U.S. vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, holding a local newspaper with her picture printed on, arrives at the check-in counter at Hong Kong airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009 as Palin is leaving Hong Kong for the U.S.

Ex-Gov. Sarah Palin made a decorous debut on the international stage Wednesday with a long speech to investors in Hong Kong.

As politicians like ex-President George W. Bush prefer when they leave public office, the event was closed to the evil, distorting media that’s probably too cheap to buy a ticket anyway. And as with teenage dating, there’s nothing the pursuer wants more than something he can’t have.

So, of course, some details always leak out. Palin was reportedly well-received and folksy at times, but gone was any hard-edged partisanship so familiar from the campaign a year ago. She did not mention what’s-his-name in the White House who clobbered her Republican presidential ticket last November.

”I’m going to call it like I see it,” she said, according to the Associated Press, “and I will share with you candidly a view right from Main Street, Main Street U.S.A.”

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The Inevitability Of An American Single-Payer Health System

Supporters of President Obama's push to overhaul health care rallied September 7, 2009 on Boston Common.

Supporters of President Obama's push to overhaul health care rallied September 7, on Boston Common shouting slogans and holding aloft banners demanding "reform now."

Amidst the ideological back and forth that is the health care reform debate of 2009, recent studies reveal a growing reality that each of us can easily understand, no matter what our ideological point of view.

It will not be long until the private health insurance model will no longer work –for anybody.

It’s got nothing to do with public options or single payer advocates just as  it will have nothing to do with those prepared to defend America from socialism at all costs.

The simple fact is that single-payer, government controlled health care is inevitable because the trajectory of the private health insurance system reveals that it is doomed to fail – and sooner than we might realize.

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Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint Should Take Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Judging from conservative rhetoric, the debate over health-care reform is in truth a fight over the future of American democracy and capitalism. Stopping the health-care bill is being described as an essential step toward restoring America to its rightful owners and rightful course.

“Friends, this is a critical battle for the heart and soul of America, and for freedom itself,” Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina told a rally in Washington over the weekend. “Freedom fighters are outnumbered in Congress, but not in America. If you continue to stand up and speak out, we will save freedom in America.”

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, made a more personal contribution to the hysteria. Health care reform would not merely threaten the foundations of America, she warned, it would lead to government-mandated abandonment of our loved ones and family.

“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 wrote on her Facebook page. “Such a system is downright evil.”

While that’s some pretty impressive demagoguery, Palin, DeMint and others are mere pikers compared to the master of the genre. To appreciate true genius in explaining how government health care will destroy all that is good and Godly about this country, you can’t do better than the Great Communicator himself, Ronald Reagan.

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Sarah Palin’s New Death Panel

The GOP is slowing down healthcare reform to a snail's pace.

The GOP is slowing down healthcare reform to a snail's pace.

Sarah Palin popped up again today on the Wall Street Journal’s Op-Ed page to renew her accusation that President Obama was advocating “death panels.” Never mind that lawmakers have already abandoned the proposal that gave rise to the original “death panel” hysteria, namely, a provision allowing Medicare to pay doctors no more than once every five years to counsel patients about their options for “end of life” care. (Some top geriatricians think such counseling would actually give the elderly more control by encouraging them to declare their preferences while they’re still capable of doing so. But I digress.) This time, Palin attacked Obama’s proposal to beef up MedPAC — the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. The 17-member MedPAC makes recommendations to Congress about how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for the services they provide. To insulate these decisions from political pressure, Obama has proposed giving a new version of MedPAC the power to set reimbursement levels, with Congress retaining the power to veto those decisions before they take effect. To Palin, though, this amounted to giving “an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts” the power to make life-and-death decisions about care.

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