Score One for Sarah Palin on the Healthcare Reform Death Panels

"Death panel" provision pulled from the Senate version of healthcare reform.

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By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

In what can fairly be described as an admission that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin knew what she was talking about, the Senate Finance Committee Thursday dropped language from its bipartisan healthcare reform package that Palin and others had suggested would eventually lead to mandated end-of-life counseling sessions for seniors.

Supporters of Obamacare, including President Barack Obama, had accused Palin and others of being dishonest in suggesting the counseling sessions would somehow lead to the government encouraging euthanasia as a cost-cutting measure as part of rationed care.

"The rumor that's been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we've decided that we don't, it's too expensive to let her live anymore," Obama said recently.

"It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc.," he said, adding, "The intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they're ready on their own terms. It wasn't forcing anybody to do anything."

The move to drop the end-of-life counseling provisions, as reported by The Hill, suggests otherwise.

"We are working very hard to avoid unintended consequences by methodically working through the complexities of all of these issues and policy options," Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement. "We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly."

Grassley said the end-of-life provision in the versions of the healthcare reform bill under consideration in the House would pay physicians to "advise patients about end-of-life care and rate physician quality of care based on the creation of and adherence to orders for end-of-life care."

"Maybe others can defend a bill like the Pelosi bill that leaves major issues open to interpretation, but I can't," Grassley added.

Score one for Sarah Palin.

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