Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update on the alleged "death panels": Newt Gingrich endorses Palin's quackery, but he also endorsed end-of-life counseling

As an addendum to the previous post, Matt Taibbi of chronicles the fact that Newt Gingrich, who made statements supportive of Palin's erratic outburst against nonexistent "death panels", was in fact thinking of end-of-life counseling. Nonetheless, he has previously made statements supportive of such counseling in Medicare.

"More than 20 percent of all Medicare spending occurs in the last two months of life. Gundersen Lutheran Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin has developed a successful end-of-life, best practice that combines: 1) community-wide advance care planning, where 90 percent of patients have advance directives; 2) hospice and palliative care; and 3) coordination of services through an electronic medical record. The Gundersen approach empowers patients and families to control and direct their care. The Dartmouth Health Atlas has documented that Gundersen delivers care at a 30 percent lower rate than the national average ($18,359 versus $25,860). If Gundersen’s approach was used to care for the approximately 4.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who die every year, Medicare could save more than $33 billion a year."

via Health Care Rx: Across the Country, Some Systems Are Getting It Right – Newt Gingrich.

That was Newt Gingrich just a few months ago praising the “Advance Directives” practiced by a hospital in Wisconsin. Advance Directives are another word for the end-of-life consultations that the teabggers have been flipping out over of late. Gingrich loved them a few months ago...


On This Week he argued with George Stephanopolous and Howard Dean about the programs. Check it out:

STEPHANOPOLOUS: The only thing that’s in the bill is that Medicare would pay for what they say is voluntary counseling on end-of-life issues.

GINGRICH: I think people are very concerned when you start talking about cost-controls… you’re asking us to trust the government. Now I’m not talking about the Obama administration, I’m talking about the government. You’re asking us to believe that the government is to be trusted. We know people who’ve said routinely, well, you’re going to have to make decisions. You’re going to have to decide. Communal stadards, historically, is a very dangerous concept.

STEPHANOPOLOUS: It’s not in the bill.

GINGRICH: (stammering) B-but, the bill’s… a thousand pages of setting up mechanisms. It sets up 45 different agencies. It has all sorts of panels. You’re asking us to trust the government when there clearly are people in the government who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective standards.

In other words, there may not be a death panel in the bill, but there are other panels, and while no one has actually ever said such a thing and it is not relevant to this particular discussion, I nonetheless assert that in general it is true that “people in government” believe in euthanasia.

Amazing. I mean, talk about being full of shit. This is as clear a case as you will ever find of a politician just getting up on television and just flat-out dogging it, saying something without even the faintest shred of belief, just as a means to an end. What an asshole!

I know some politicians have kind of a wink-wink nudge-nudge attitude towards lying, and some of them in private will act almost like it’s funny, part of the job description. But there are limits to how much even a politician should be allowed to lie. That’s especially when he’s lying in order to scare a bunch of old people.

This might be a good time to call to attention one relevant facet of a code of conduct that Sojourners developed for health reform:

I believe that all people have a moral obligation to tell the truth. To serve the common good of our entire nation, all parties debating reform should tell the truth and refrain from distorting facts or using fear-based messaging (Leviticus 19:11; Ephesians 4:14-15, 25; Proverbs 6:16-19).

1 comment:

Anna Renee said...

It's a fact of life that these "politicians" will tell what are obvious lies, boldface lies straigt in your face. It's as if they dare you to use your own common sense. They know some people would rather believe the lies than deal with the truth. These type of "politicians" have already sold their souls to the devil for the small bit of "positioning" or political clout they receive. They have accepted that they're on their way to hell in the end. So what will the righteous do?