It’s pure myth: There’s no ‘death panel’ in health care legislation

Why don’t they just be up front and honest with the American people instead of doing every thing behind closed doors, or is it that if they were up front it would show that they did not know what they were doing, so they lie thinking that Americans are stupid, and don’t know any better.

By Trish Choate :  Friday, August 14

WASHINGTON — The “death panel” rumor about health care reform lives stubbornly on in spite of debunking from sources ranging from AARP to a Republican senator who pushed for Medicare coverage of end-of-life counseling.

Lawmakers are still fielding questions from constituents deeply concerned that House proposals would set up death panels to decide if the disabled or elderly are worthy of health care — or if they should be shuttled off for euthanasia.

They might have read it on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, heard it on talk radio or happened across it on the Internet.

But are they hearing it from their lawmakers?

Here’s what Big Country congressmen are saying about the death panel rumor:

Abilene’s Congressman Randy Neugebauer, a Republican from Lubbock: “This is yet another example of the terrible flaws in this legislation. I cannot support any bill that will ration health care for seniors and allow the federal government to intervene in personal decisions made between patients and doctors. Federal bureaucrats should not be in charge of personal family decisions for patients of any age.”

Congressman Mike Conaway, a Republican from Midland: “That’s not what the legislation says, I believe. It’s probably a well-intended opportunity to make sure folks have all the advice they need to make some of the most difficult decisions we’re ever called upon to make. The problem is that’s not the federal government’s role at all in any form, shape or manner.”

Conaway added that although the legislation doesn’t say that right now, it’s possible to build a case that in an environment of growing regulations, the government might begin to move in the direction of requiring people to “avail yourself of one of these specific options that we, in the wisdom of the federal government, have come up with” as appropriate for you and your family.

Congressman Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Clarendon: “You don’t need to exaggerate or dramatize it, but there is real reason for concern. … One of my primary concerns with this whole approach to health care is that you get a government bureaucrat in between you and your doctor making decisions about you. So whether it’s taking a treatment or medication off the board or eventually saying that you’re not of an age or condition for a certain procedure, you know, too old for a hip replacement, that sort of thing. I think that is a real possibility because that’s exactly what we’ve seen happen in other countries.”

The end-of-life provision in House health care reform legislation has AARP’s support, but it might not make it into a final compromise bill that would be created by lawmakers from both houses of Congress.

Earlier this week, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a powerful Republican in the creation of health care reform legislation, announced the group was dropping end-of-life provisions from consideration because “of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican who proposed an end-of-life amendment for health care reform, told a Washington Post journalist that Palin’s death panel interpretation was “nuts.”

Isakson’s proposal was for anyone participating in the long-term care benefit provided in health care reform legislation from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee could opt to use the benefit to get assistance in making his own living will and durable power of attorney.

The committee unanimously accepted his amendment, but he opposes both the Senate and House proposals for health care reform, Isakson said in a statement.

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