Thank heavens some Republicans are still acting honorably. For example, Alaska's senior Senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, said this week that Palin and other critics were not helping the GOP by throwing out false claims.
"Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology, because it absolutely isn't" (in the bill). "There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill."
No matter how many news organizations or members of Congress say it isn't true, those rabble rousers at the town hall meetings keep saying it. Finally, Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said his Committee would drop the provision from consideration. Sarah Palin - you are so powerful!
Now, let's look at what that provision would have provided for seniors - that they've now lost thanks to Palin and her unthinking, nonreading followers.
In 1990 the Supreme Court handed down a decision (Cruzan v MO DoH) requiring clear and convincing evidence for end of life decisions. Congress wanted to be sure people knew how to state their wishes in a way that would stand up in court. So they introduced legislation requiring health care providers paid by Medicare and Medicaid to inform patients about their rights.
There was hollering then about "pulling the plug on grandma" by some right wing fanatics, but the legislation had broad bipartison support, and it easily passed.
Right after that, you may have noted that hospitals and other providers started handing out paperwork outlining your rights. Although that was nice, Congress really wanted doctors to be able to talk to their patients about their rights - if the patients requested it.
The so called "death panel" language in this year's bill was simply to authorize payments to doctors for those sessions - since doctors don't generally provide services for free.
Now here's the best part. The 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Bill that became law contained the exact same provision. Did the Republicans scream "death panel" then? Uh, no - they voted for it - 204 Republican House members and 42 Republican Senators. Talk about hypocrisy!
As a column in Time magazine says:
It is truly disgusting that Republicans would knowingly lie and distort and try to scare people - for purely political reasons. In the meantime, 47 million Americans have no health insurance and 22,000 Americans die every year because of that. Thanks, Sarah Palin.
"So either Republicans were for death panels in 2003 before turning against them now--or they're lying about end-of-life counseling in order to frighten the bejeezus out of their fellow citizens and defeat health reform by any means necessary."