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It is amazing how base the public discourse on healthcare reform has become. Apparently, the riotous behavior has calmed down, but this has seemingly morphed into utter distortion and hypocrisy. Today's bandit: Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa.
Grassley has made sure that a completely false description of the proposed healthcare reform legislation remains alive. Fact: The proposed legislation would compensate medical providers who counsel older patients regarding "end-of-life" decisions. The information provided during the nonmandatory sessions would include informing patients of their right to establish a living will or a medical directive, to resist or to seek life-sustaining medical treatment, etc. This is good medicine -- which is often overlooked until it is too late.
Recently, Sarah Palin distorted the content of the proposed legislation when she said it would create governmental "death panels" that would pick and choose who gets to live. As horribly deceptive as this statement was, other conservatives have continued to offer it as the truth.
Today, Grassley signed on to the lie when he criticized the proposed reform by saying that the United States "should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma." Question: Will Iowa voters pull the plug on Grassley's Senate career for this rotten tomato-deserving commentary?
Grassley's misrepresentation of the proposed legislation is not his worst offense. Hypocrisy is. Although Grassley opposes the hypothetical notion of the government intervening in a decision to remove life support, when presented with an actual case involving this issue, Grassley's actions did not match the "anti-government" rhetoric he is spewing today. The case surrounded the life of Terry Schiavo.
Although Schiavo's husband had engaged in litigation for nearly a decade in Florida to reject life-sustaining medical treatment on her behalf, Congress nevertheless decided to pass a law to extend the case even longer. The hospice had already removed the feeding and hydration apparatus from Schiavo, but Congress still intervened.
Although the Senate voted by unanimous consent, Grassley expressed his views at the time: "I support the effort to protect Terri Schiavo. It’s the first case of its kind, a chance to choose life over death. I gave the option to life. . . ." But Grassley did not support "life." Instead, he supported governmental intrusion into one of the most delicate situations we face in our lives. Today, he supposedly abhors the very action that he proudly endorsed in the recent past. Grassley's utterly contradictory stances make him the shameless hypocrite of the day. Congratulations, Senator!
UPDATE: Grassley is a staunch pro-lifer, who earned a perfect 100 score by the National Right to Life Committee. Grassley definitely suffers from the same contradictory approach to "big government" that plagues many other opponents to healthcare reform. The pro-choice lobby believes that the government should not interfere with a woman's decision to terminate a pregnancy. Grassley votes to make the choice for her. Who's really afraid of big government?
UPDATE II: Grassley is also a staunch supporter of the death penalty. The government actually pulls the plug in this instance!
UPDATE III: The hypocrisy gets thicker by the day: