Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Quitting Governor Sounds Off On Health Care

She has done it again!

Without being prompted by Democratic politicians or the "liberal media" to leave Alaska in favor of hobnobbing in the "lower 48," Sarah Palin has issued another entertaining statement.

In Facebook, the ex-Governor issued a "Statement on the Current Health Care Debate" in which she exclaimed

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. Such a system is downright evil.

To give Mrs. Palin her due, that kind of society would be "downright evil," were such a thing being contemplated. (Although given the rationing of care practiced by the health insurance industry every hour of every day, the current system, does bear a small resemblance.)

Inasmuch as no health reform initiative proposes a "death panel," let alone one which would evaluate an individual's "level of productivity in society," no one can be sure what The Quitting Governor actually meant, not unlike her resignation speech. Perhaps we should give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she was not referring to the noxious conservative tall tale that hordes of government workers are poised to descend on the homes of elderly Americans and encourage them to die. Maybe The Quitting Governor, ignorant though she sometimes appears (video below- you've seen it many times, but you can't stop looking, can you?), was referring to comparative effectiveness research. In the words of a federal government website

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research to coordinate comparative effectiveness research across the Federal government. The Council will specifically make recommendations for the $400 million allocated to the Office of the Secretary for CER.

Funds for comparative effectiveness research enable medical and scientific professionals to compare strategies and treatments which can be used to improve the health of patients. No "bureaucrat" makes a "subjective judgement;" they are objective judgements and decisions would remain the responsibility of government officials. It's hard to imagine anyone objecting to this concept, unless the pandering politician is playing to pharmaceutical or medical device lobbyists. Or hostile to science. Or both. (For a thoughtful, balanced analysis of implementation of comparative effectiveness research, click here.)

Conservatives enjoy railing against what they claim is government efficiency. You might think that faced with a governmental intitiative aimed at increasing efficiency, they would applaud what they could trumpet (sincerely or otherwise) as somehow uncharacteristic of liberals, or of Democrats. But that is not how the Repub Party of No operates these days, and there may be no better example than Sarah Palin, her words at once ignorant and manipulative.

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