Remember how Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has made a big stink the past couple days regarding the so-called "death panels" in health care reform? The day after President Obama singled him out in a New Hampshire town hall meeting because Grassley wanted to work on a bipartisan resolution, the Senator went back to his constiuents in Iowa and proceeded to toss a big ol' keg of lighter fluid on the "death panel" fire, telling senior citizens they "have every right to fear."
On Thursday, Grassley announced the end-of-life consultation provision -- the source of the completely-bonkers "They're gonna kill granny!" rumors -- would no longer be a part of whatever bill comes out of the Senate Finance Committee. It is worth noting, though, that Grassley is the only member of that committee to say such a thing ... making this intrepid blogger wonder if he was just saying something to make his constituents happy.
Besides, even if there are no provisions in the Finance Committee bill, that doesn't mean it's not in the other bills, and it doesn't mean it won't ultimately wind up in the final bill that's put up for a vote in both chambers of Congress.
Then, on Thursday night, Amy Sullivan of TIME Magazine revealed this nugget: when Congress passed a Medicare prescription drug bill in 2003 -- with a combined 246 Republicans in both houses voting for it -- the bill included a provision for end-of-life counseling and care. It included the same provision that people like Grassley, Sarah Palin, Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh are railing against now with their scare tactics.
From the Medicare bill: "The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary's need for pain and symptom management, including the individual's need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning."
The 2003 provision would only take effect when a patient was terminally ill, while the provision under controversy now (Section 1233 of HR 3200) would extend the coverage of an end-of-life counseling session to those who are not yet ill.
Care to guess who voted for the provision back in 2003?
If you guessed Sen. Grassley, you just won yourself a cookie!
That's all I've got for now. There's really no need for me to once again point out the blantant hypocrisy within the GOP. They just make it so easy. We can now add Grassley to the list of end-of-life hypocrits, along with Palin and others (see video below).
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa = EPIC FAIL.