Palin declares victory on healthcare bill

Trumpeting the removal of end-of-life provisions from one version, Palin continues her misinformation campaign


Alex Koppelman
August 14, 2009 11:40PM (UTC)

In the hands of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Facebook is fast becoming a forum for serious policy discussion -- at least, as serious as Palin gets. For the second day in a row, on Friday there was a post up on her account that was more sober and less rambling than her usual fare, and that included footnotes in its discussion of Democratic healthcare proposals. Of course, that didn't mean she got everything right.

The post started off with something like a declaration of victory over the Senate Finance Committee's decision not to consider end-of-life counseling provisions that are in other versions of the reform bill. That's particularly relevant for Palin, given the heat she's gotten for having spread a myth about "death panels" that would decide whether people like her parents and her son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, would get medical care.

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"It’s gratifying that the voice of the people is getting through to Congress; however, that provision was not the only disturbing detail in this legislation; it was just one of the more obvious ones," Palin wrote.

She went on to, among other things, discuss Ezekiel Emanuel again, writing:

The rationing system proposed by one of President Obama’s key health care advisors is particularly disturbing. I’m speaking of the “Complete Lives System” advocated by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the president’s chief of staff. President Obama has not yet stated any opposition to the “Complete Lives System,” a system which, if enacted, would refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential.

As I wrote in my earlier debunking of the rumors surrounding Emanuel, this is absolutely not true. The system he's written about wouldn't "refuse" to allocate medical resources to anyone -- it's simply a different way of prioritizing the distribution of scarce resources like flu shots or organ transplants. Emanuel has clearly stated that the system is not intended for medical care generally.

Palin goes on to say, "Our senior citizens are right to be wary of this health care bill. Medical care at the end of life accounts for 80 percent of all health care. When care is rationed, that is naturally where the cuts will be felt first."

Again, that's not true -- and ironically, it's Emanuel himself who's proven that cutting back on end-of-life care wouldn't make much of a dent in total healthcare spending.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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