Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Most Patriotic Person In America

Yes, it's true. As a Wall Street Journal blog recently reported, Sarah Palin soon will announce formation of a new organization, apparently distinct from SarahPAC. It will be called, oddly enough, "Stand Up For Our Nation."

On August 7 Sarah Palin stood up for our nation and demonstrated her patriotism by claiming on her Facebook page:

And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. 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.

After being criticized for making an obviously ludicrous charge, Palin on August 12, again on Facebook, contended

The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that 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?

Here is what had to say about this charge:

The fact remains that the bill wouldn’t require patients to receive counseling sessions, nor would it require a doctor to offer one. Rather, it modifies Section 1861(s)2 of the Social Security Act, defining what services Medicare will pay for. So if a patient receives a counseling session from a doctor or health care practitioner, he or she doesn’t have to pay for it – Medicare will. As we pointed out in our earlier story, Medicare will also pay for prosthetic limbs, but that doesn’t mean that every recipient gets those, too.

And the concern that these sessions are "part of a bill whose stated purpose is ‘to reduce the growth in health care spending,’ " while true, is hardly the whole story. One of the bill’s other goals is to "provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans." analyzed Palin's first statement:

We agree with Palin that such a system would be evil. But it's definitely not what President Barack Obama or any other Democrat has proposed.

We have read all 1,000-plus pages of the Democratic bill and examined versions in various committees. There is no panel in any version of the health care bills in Congress that judges a person's "level of productivity in society" to determine whether they are "worthy" of health care....

Palin also may have also jumped to conclusions about the Obama administration's efforts to promote comparative effectiveness research. Such research has nothing to do with evaluating patients for "worthiness." Rather, comparative effectiveness research finds out which treatments work better than others....

We've looked at the inflammatory claims that the health care bill encourages euthanasia. It doesn't. There's certainly no "death board" that determines the worthiness of individuals to receive care. Conservatives might make a case that Palin is justified in fearing that the current reform could one day morph into such a board.

But that's not what Palin said. She said that the Democratic plan will ration care and "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's statement sounds more like a science fiction movie (Soylent Green, anyone?) than part of an actual bill before Congress. We rate her statement Pants on Fire!

The former Repub vice-presidential nominee is merely making things up, you say. Kind of like the "socialism" tag she so effectively hung around the neck of Senator Barack Obama that he won by only 7.2% of the popular vote and 192 votes in the Electoral College.

But it really is more than that. Back before then-Governor Palin had to watch what she said, back when she could be a little more free-wheeling and express her true sentiments- only three years ago- her video greeting (below) to the annual convention of the Alaska Independence Party contained this memorable wish:

Good luck on a successful and inspiring convention. Keep up the good work, and God bless you.

Not only "good luck on a successful and inspiring convention" (upbeat and safely vague) and "God bless you," but also "keep up the good work." The work of the Alaska Independence Party was pushing a referendum which would have Alaskans vote on whether to secede from "our nation," as Governor Quitter would put it.

Mrs. Palin never was a member of the AIP, unlike husband Todd. And it is not illegal to run for vice-president of a nation which you've implied should consist of 49, rather than 50, states. Nor is it treasonous to try to inflame tensions with outlandish statements about a health care bill supported by your President, or to do so by using your disabled child as a political tactic. Still, it would demonstrate a little public integrity for the ex-Governor to refrain from inferring that she has a special claim on patriotism, that she especially will "Stand Up For Our Nation."

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