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Grassley responds to backlash over euthanasia rumor
Responding to the media storm surrounding his statements Wednesday that government-run health care will lead to mandatory euthanasia for the nation’s elderly, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, released a press release standing by the debunked theory.
“On the end-of-life issue, there’s a big difference between a simple educational campaign, as some advocates want, and the way the House committee-passed bill pays physicians to advise patients about end of life care and rates physician quality of care based on the creation of and adherence to orders for end-of-life care, while at the same time creating a government-run program that is likely to lead to the rationing of care for everyone,” he said.
The Senate Finance Committee, which has become the center of debate over health care reform legislation and on which Grassley is the senior Republican, has “dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly,” he said.
As pointed out by Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize winning Web site run by the staff of the St. Petersburg Times, despite Grassley’s insistence, “there is no panel in any version of the health care bills in Congress that judges a person’s ‘level of productivity in society’ to determine whether they are ‘worthy’ of health care” in the entire 1,000-page bill.
As for end-of-life planning, Politifact says the language in the bill is in fact very plain.
According to the bill, “such consultation shall include the following: An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to; an explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses; an explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy.”
Medicare will cover one session every five years, the legislation states. If a patient becomes very ill in the interim, Medicare will cover additional sessions.
In addition to continuing to spread the “death panel” urban legend, Grassley’s statement also mentions another debunked argument opponents of health care reform have made: that it will provide health care to illegal immigrants.
“The bill passed by the House committees is so poorly cobbled together that it will have all kinds of unintended consequences, including making taxpayers fund health care subsidies for illegal immigrants,” Grassley said.
This despite a section of the bill titled “No Federal Payment for Undocumented Aliens” which states: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”