Posted by: shannynmoore | August 8, 2009

“Death Panels” For Dummies

In the world of Palin Wack-a-Mole, you need steroids to win. Facebook press releases seem to come on Fridays. Yesterday was no different. This week’s word salad had the crazy dressing on the side; a link to Michele Bachmann’s health care rant.  The crap croutons had quote marks around them; “death panel”, and “level of productivity in society.”

If you ever needed proof our current health care is deficient, or for that matter, our education system, try to make sense out of either woman’s position.  For all the fear mongering and “bearing false witness” as this is:

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

As weirdly elitist as this:

“I commend her for being a voice for the most precious members of our society, our children and our seniors.”

And as “grab your torches and pitch forks” this is:

“Let’s stop and think and make our voices heard before it’s too late.”

there is a much bigger problem.  Sarah Palin has a history of fudging about health care.

While being vetted by the McCain camp:

At one point, trying out a debating point that she believed showed she could empathize with uninsured Americans, Palin told McCain aides that she and Todd in the early years of their marriage had been unable to afford health insurance of any kind, and had gone without it until he got his union card and went to work for British Petroleum on the North Slope of Alaska. Checking with Todd Palin himself revealed that, no, they had had catastrophic coverage all along. She insisted that catastrophic insurance didn’t really count and need not be revealed. This sort of slipperiness—about both what the truth was and whether the truth even mattered—persisted on questions great and small.

During the vice-presidential debate, Palin stated:

About times and Todd and our marriage in our past where we didn’t have health insurance and we know what other Americans are going through as they sit around the kitchen table and try to figure out how are they going to pay out-of-pocket for health care? We’ve been there also so that connection was important.

WHAT? There are 228 federally recognized tribes in Alaska.  According to the Indian Health Services website:

IHS-funded, tribally-managed hospitals are located in Anchorage, Barrow, Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue, Nome and Sitka. There are 37 tribal health centers, 166 tribal community health aide clinics and five residential substance abuse treatment centers. The Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage is the state-wide referral center and gatekeeper for specialty care. Other health promotion/disease prevention programs that are state-wide in scope are operated by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), which is managed by representatives of all Alaska tribes.

Todd Palin’s heritage as an Alaskan Native was a curiosity to many during the 2008 campaign.

According to public disclosure forms that Sarah Palin filed with the state of Alaska, her husband and their children are BBNC (Bristol Bay Native Corporation) shareholders, meaning they would likely qualify for the health service program.

So between Todd’s union job insurance, the governor’s state coverage and the FEDERALLY FUNDED health care through Native blood, when did the Palins ever sit around the kitchen table and discuss their “out-of-pocket” health care costs?   There are millions of people who don’t have ANY options to provide for the health care needs of themselves or their children, let alone THREE!

And that’s just the personal hypocrisy.

While under contract to govern the state of Alaska, Palin’s administration failed to keep up on the state’s Medicaid obligations and were ordered to cease signing up new patients. No other state in the country had been put under such a moratorium, according to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

July 14, 2009 ADN:

A particularly alarming finding concerns deaths of adults in the programs. In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help.

Doctors and other health care providers wrote to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid with concerns that the state wasn’t responsive. Some alleged that the lack of state controls “has resulted in the death(s) of the active clients,” the federal review said.

While the people served are frail and suffer from chronic health issues, the state never investigated to determine if any failure in service contributed to the deaths, the federal review found.

Seriously, when are we going to stop electing people who say “the government is bad”? Once elected, they do everything they can to prove it.  It can only be one of two things; incompetency or sabotage.  Either way, Alaskans have died due to a lack of health care.

The point of this post is not to point out the never ending hypocrisy of Sarah Palin.  Nor is it to point out the blatant lies of one person — but how the intention, manipulation and lies of one person can affect the lives ordinary people.

Perhaps Citizen Palin should take her own advice, “honor the American soldier”, “quit makin’ things up” and “leave the kids alone.”

smdivorcerealityAlaskan cartoonist Peter Dunlap Shohl.


  1. Sarah truly fits the ‘joke’

    How can you tell if she is lying? Her lips are moving.

  2. The question of the day is: Does Palin know she is lying or does she really believe the crap she says? Option one makes her a hypocrite who will go to hell for bearing false witness. Option two means she is truly ignorant, if not stupid.

    • Or crazy……

    • I think she believes herself.. Years of self delusion have had their impact.

    • Clearly she is a narcissistic psychopath. Dangerous. To. Our. Country.

  3. This is pure Sarah now that she is unfettered.

    I’m guessing that the RepoTaliban are intentionally mixing the health insureance issue with another totally separate matter.

    There are already a few hospitals that have what are referred to as “bunkers” where as few as two RN or an Hospitalist follow as many as 120 monitors linked to as many patient’s tubes and sensors.
    A computer program will alert the monitors of an serious change in the patients condition, and the computer will recommend treatment and –

    decide whether that treatment is likely to improve the patient’s condition. If not it, the computer, will order the treatment to not be give.

    The patient, the family and the attending physician have no say.

    Medicare, HMOs and insurance already stop treatment, without notice for the same reasons. If, as my brother and I did with my parents, the family decide to continue treatment then the attending physician is obliged to do so.

    It looks like the Repugs are mixing several different issues into one issue and creating a boogey man and using that to whip up hatred.

  4. i’m thankful she’s no longer my Governor if *this* is her contribution to the political debate

    the “death panel” assertion is frankly insane, and i never use that word loosely. however, i can find no appropriate synonym for the level of disconnection with reality shown by such a comment

    i’m politically conservative (don’t hate me) and i only used to feel marginalized, but now i’m feeling utterly alienated!

    for what it’s worth, i utterly reject the fear tactics that are trying to derail the public discourse

    • Why would we have anyone who is a conservative? Being conservative is not evil or a crime. SP is NOT a conservative. She is a psychotic looney tune. See the difference? You don’t seem to be any of those things. Disagreement is cool and it makes our country stronger as long as it isn’t done with force and guns.

  5. also, too, i take this as proof that they DO grow the strongest dope in the Valley

    /snark =)

  6. I think the death panels are in Russia; that’s why she’s able to see them.

  7. Palin had her own Death Panel–

  8. So it turns out Facebook was the “higher calling” she had in mind when she quit? Mrs. Palin is an attention whore – nothing more, nothing less.

  9. She always makes noise before more revelations about her come out. This gal is not going away, except maybe to the big house(one could hope)

  10. still trying to figure this one out…
    “leave my kids out of it”
    “death panel after my son Trig”.
    Another illustrious example of Palin double speak. You wanna talk health care, talk health care. You want your privacy respected, don’t use your kids for scare tactics.

  11. […] “Death Panels” For Dummies […]

  12. Aside from the fact (pointed out above) that Todd and the kids probably get free medical care from the evil federal government because Todd’s grandmother is Native (whether or not they do I’d love to hear Palin/Stapleton’s opinion of that medical program), it should not be forgotten that Pslin ignored ALL the recommendations the health care task force that she appointed made.

    The Palin plan for health care reform: do nothing.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  13. “Blood” (such an archaic term, Shannyn!) and shareholder status don’t entitle anyone to any medical care. People who are members of federally recognized tribes (i.e., citizens as determined by their governments) are entitled to health care among other things in return for ceding lands and/or partial sovereignty to the US.

    Health care has some odd bits to it, but corporate ownership and “blood” are not.

    Nevertheless, if Todd was enrolled in his tribal government (his kids may or may not be enrolled depending on the rules set by his tribal government) then he would certainly have major medical and federally-funded healthcare. Track is another with single-payer health care in a federally run program. I suspect Todd’s mother and Sarah’s parents also are beneficiaries of a federal health system.

    We could debate the quality of all this, but too many have no health care whatsoever.

    Eligibility Requirements for Health Services from the Indian Health Service– The most common standard applied for eligibility for health services from the Indian Health Service is that the individual is an enrolled member of a Federally recognized Tribe. The following is part of the Indian Health Service Manual text that sets forth the policies, standards, and procedures for determining those persons who come within the scope of the Indian Health program: Indian Health Service Manual Part 2 — Services to Indians and Others Chapter 1 — Indians 2-1.2 PERSONS TO WHOM SERVICES MAY BE PROVIDED A person may be regarded as within the scope of the Indian Health program if he is not otherwise excluded therefrom by provision of law, and: 1. Is of Indian and/or Alaska Native descent as evidenced by one or more of the following factors: (1) Is regarded by the community in which he lives as an Indian or Alaska Native; (2) Is a member, enrolled or otherwise, or an Indian or Alaska Native Tribe or Group under Federal supervision; (3) Resides on tax-exempt land or owns restricted property; (4) Actively participates in tribal affairs; (5) Any other reasonable factor indicative of Indian descent, or 2. Is an Indian of Canadian or Mexican origin recognized by any Indian tribe or group as a member of an Indian community served by the Indian Health program; or 3. Is a non-Indian woman pregnant with an eligible Indian’s child for the duration of her pregnancy through post partum (usually 6 weeks); or 4. Is a non-Indian member of an eligible Indian’s household and the medical officer in charge determines that services are necessary to control a public health hazard or an acute infectious disease which constitutes a public health hazard.

  14. Shannyn, I am a huge fan of you, AKM, and all the other progressive Alaskan bloggers; and I agree with almost everything you say. However, I would like to comment on one of your statements today:
    “If you ever needed proof our current health care is deficient, or for that matter, our education system, try to make sense out of either woman’s position.”

    Yes, our education system has been damaged since standardized testing and teaching to the test year round was forced upon teachers and students. Furthermore, many children’s home lives have become increasingly chaotic. School teachers have only seven to eight hours of influence upon children in a 24-hour period. Children are more likely to be influenced by forces outside school in the remaining fifteen to sixteen hours, such as television, movies, radio, family values and/or religious beliefs.

    Speaking as a thirty-five-year educator who gave the best to my children, fellow faculty members, and our parents, I just want to remind you that many forces other than education have influenced Americans for the past twenty to thirty years.

  15. Advanced Directives – everyone needs them. If you appear or need to be admitted at a hospital, you will be required to state if you have an existing advanced directive. If not a social worker will HELP you express your wishes.

    These directives (Living will, Medical Power of Attorney) are frequently prepared when individuals prepare a will. If not, the hospital will help.

    In the past, if you wanted to discuss with your physician (and NOT having a State Trust to pay your bill), it was a service (VOLUNTARY) that you paid for. This plan provides for this as a covered service.

    So, SP gets it for free, but wants to deny it unless YOU pay for it out of pocket.

    …sounds like a typical Palin Plan to me. And realizing that many of us as we age, are aware of the need to make our personal wishes know.

    I am not afraid to die – I am however, afraid to die without having an opportunity to express my end-of-life wishes with regard to specific incidents and procedures.

  16. mpb 8/8 09

    When I worked for the IHS in Bethel,AK from ’73-’96 Blood quantum DID come into play, it was either 1/8th or 1/16th (can’t remember which). I was a provider not directly involved in eligibility.

  17. Sarah Palin needs a job. Obama should give her a gun & binoculars, place her @ the Bering Strait & tell her to “guard that shore soldier.” — via some idiot’s twitter stream. 😉

    Sarah Palin’s followers will never be swayed. It’s too late for them because you can’t instill reasoning and comprehension into people who haven’t intellectually evolved.

    • I think I love your brain and the way it thinks!

  18. It is so sad that people like Palin who has “influence” uses it to lead the morally and intellectually deficient down a false and dangerous road by outright lies. Last week I forgave her for her stupidity and ambition. What she is doing now, is downright e-v-i-l.

  19. More drivel from the Palin camp. Double speak, word salad, and inane statements seem to be her bread and butter.

  20. Based on an unscientific sample of conservative folks to whom I am related, she has really stepped over any line she had with this. Now, there will still be nuts who support her but even those who were marginally in her camp before appear to have had their eyes opened.

  21. Agreed Donna. It isn’t really about “conservatives” and “liberals”. At this point in time, it is about sane vs insane.

    There must be conservatives “out there” who listen to this evil filth and cringe? It cannot just be liberals who find her Death Panel reference absolutely disgusting? She is now into eugenics (and I’d bet she is totally clueless on that issue) and just opening her big mouth and out comes a horror most politicians would not touch.

    She is truly evil. This isn’t politics. This is psychotic behavior in a public forum.

    If the conservatives SHE claims to represent think this is a horrible as it truly is, and are repelled by these comments, WHERE ARE THEY and WHY DON’T THEY SPEAK UP?

    Part of the problem is that she appears to be allowed to make statements like this and all she gets are giggles and eye rolls, even from conservatives who see she has totally gone mad. No one holds her responsible.

    Not even the people who hate what she is saying in her own party.

  22. I feel that the consevatives that are against what flies out of Palins mouth are so invested in the conservative line of thinking that they are reluctant to take a stand against what she says for fear of some kind of retribution. It seems that there isn’y any kind of dialogue in the conservative ranks; like lemmings they blindly follow whom ever is getting the most face time in the media, whether it’s Limbaugh and his brand of crazy, or Ms. Palin and her insanity.

  23. Love that your piece went national on HuffPo. You are such a great writer with the investigative qualities of a bona fide journalist. When will “the never ending hypocrisy of Sarah Palin” be common enough knowledge to stop the madness of her???!!! She is the one who is “downright ‘evil”! REAL CHRISTIANS don’t do and say stuff like this.

  24. HOW TO HELP OBAMA: We ALL need to attend every town hall meeting that we can this month. The media, our leaders, and our President need to see that the majority of us want a national health care plan. So far, the media has focused on the screaming disrupters. We need to outnumber them HUGELY so the media can focus on us. If we do not show up, we will regret it later; it will be seen as apathy. Showing up at your local town hall meetings will show support for our President and his plan. PLEASE GO!

  25. Please, someone, anyone, expose this hollow headed nitwit for the ignorant person she is. She is ignorant of every aspect of politics, be it Cap and Trade, Healthcare, etc and yet, she has the audacity, by her actions, to suggest that she will be running for President in 2012. Why is it that her ‘supporters’ cannot see her for the empty vessel she is.

  26. You know, I really think she is mentally ill. No kidding, the paranoia, coupled with ignorance is never a good idea. But………the stuff recentlysounds like massive projection and a lot of subconcious hostility rising to the surface.

    If Trig is her child, and I do have doubts, (all that Bristol is in the car sitting with Trig, while she is clearly full to brimming with Breast milk is a clue), but I digress, IF he is her child the saga of how she got from Texas to AK shows a clear lack of regard for an infant, who will likely have health problems at birth, she’d have been an older delivery mother and one with her 5th, make that guaranteed more speedy delivery of a child, when her water has already broken.

    No woman, Alaskan or NOT, is going to put their child in that kind of danger, unless they are hoping something goes “wrong”. I don’t see any love between her and the child…..I have a disabled child, (but not Downs), a lot of people have a hard time adjusting to the look, to the looks of others, to the reality that their life will never be the same. That is true, I know!

    But talking about a death panel, would absolve her of her duty, just like a death of the child because she was a maverick pregnant woman who HAD to get home for delivery would have made her victim. Just like she is trying to portray the elderly and disabled.

    The outrageous quality of using that kind of language in the US, in the 2000s with the President we have is ……….well, it’s unbalanced, it’s really wacko. More wack-o thank her usual wacky-ness. Someone needs to intervene on the child’s behalf, because she is showing very clear signs of depersonalizing him, and having a failure to bond to him. She has objectified all her children, but this is really sad, he needs a parent, a mother, one who is willing to go into the uncharted terrritory that is what we all face as new parents of a disabled child.

    It IS scary, and it changes everything, but distancing him for herself is not going to help with is outcome. If Bristol is his mother, I am hoping sincerely that she in time, takes him back and ends the charade. The child deserves better than Sarah.

    PS my child is 30 now, and I am proud of her and her courage, she is a far better person than many I know.

  27. The Texas Advance Directives Act (1999), also known as the Texas Futile Care Law, describes certain provisions that are now Chapter 166 of the Texas Health & Safety Code. Controversy over these provisions mainly centers on Section 166.046, Subsection (e),[1] which allows a health care facility to discontinue life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient or guardian ten days after giving written notice if the continuation of life-sustaining treatment is considered medically inappropriate by the treating medical team.

    This bill was signed into law while George W. Bush was gov. of Texas.

    Sarah needs to do some reading and/or research before she starts foaming at the mouth. Her 100% lies all the time is making me very angry.

  28. Thank you Shannyn. Sarah Palin is truly a scary human being. She is a hypocrite and a liar and I am sincerely shocked that she even has any following! She has completely thrown her son into the political game when it suits her and cries unfair treatment when she is called out. I have absolutely no respect for her as a politician and even less as a person. I know her fans will eventually recognize her lack of honesty and see her simple need for fame and fortune. She does not care about the people.

  29. I doubt anyone reads old comments. Still, I’m angry enough that maybe its enough just to send this off to Blogworld. … I’m an ER nurse. I participate, in a regular basis, in emergency resuscitation efforts. They are not the smooth, organized dances like you see on television. A cardiac resuscitation case is violent, mean, bright, loud, smelly and painful. I’ve seen tears in the eyes of nurses, doctors and techs as we slam bolts of electricity and shove slug after slug of caustic medication into some poor, emaciated 94-year-old grandmother whose heart stopped an hour before they got to the hospital and whose brain is long gone. The end comes as someone is slamming their full weight down on your chest, cracking all your ribes. There’s a tube the size of your thumb jammed down your windpipe, pumping in air, a suction tube jammed up your nose to suck out your stomach contents and another tube up your urethra to drain out urine that would otherwise be seeping out onto the sheets. Your blood isn’t coagulating anymore, so a half-dozen puncture sites where we needed to pull out arterial and venous blood samples and put in IVs are dripping onto the floor. Who knows what pain this grandmother is feeling as she lies semi-naked under glaring lights, a rough dozen people rushing in and out of the room? Now, assuming we can recover a heart rhythm and blood pressure, would this woman choose to spend her final days in an intensive care unit or in her home, lying in the bed she shared with her spouse for 40 years, surrounded by children and grandchildren? I don’t know. Maybe she’d choose the fight. If so, we’ll gladly use every milligram of drugs and every amp of electricity we have to save her. But maybe she doesn’t choose that. The point is – we don’t know. The grieving family doesn’t know. Its probable even the patient doesn’t know BECAUSE NO ONE EVER TALKED ABOUT IT. Now the health care reform proposals include a provision to make these talks alittle easier by ruling that a patient could use coverage to pay for a talk with their health care provider about end-of-life issues if they want to. I mean, does Sarah Palin really mean that she doesn’t want this grandmother to talk to her doctor about her treatment choices? No, what Sarah Palin is doing is lying in order to use this issue for her own political advantage, regardless of who she hurts because, in her mind, no one else matters. Certainly not that poor 94-old woman who is dying in pain among strangers.

  30. Thanks Cathy In Colorado: I believe that ALL hospitals now have Ethics Committees – they’ve been active for YEARS. They are not made up of just physicians.

    They consist of physicians, administrators, lawyers, laypersons. They meet with family members. This does occur when families don’t comprehend or totally understand what has happened to their family member, what direction the treatment is going, what an expected outcome is.

    On some occasions, discontinuation of treatment may be recommended based upon medical prognosis. Often these individuals are nursing home patients, with severe dementia or in coma, experiencing wet gangrene from ulcerations and no expected recovery. It is often said that “bedside manner”, talking with families, spending the time to explain fully what is or has happened to a family member, allows a family to make a decision. Heroics are done simply because a family believes the member will survive and return to normal.

    Most people are not stupid. If they are spoken with gently and humanely, and receive full explanations, they will make informed decisions. If they choose heroics and there is no Advanced Directive, they will receive heroics.

    In spite of everything medicine does and is capable of, everyone does die in the end As a society, we seem to have difficulty understanding this. Often patients succeed in dying in spite of their doctors. And many patients do “will” themselves to give up and succeed. That is their choice. My husband’s mother waited until he could get back to see her, and died 1/2 an hour after he got home. She waited for him – we knew it.

    People approaching the end of life are aware and are often not afraid. Our feelings change as we age and based upon what we experience. Aging causes a loss of thirst, a loss of and lack of interest in eating due to no taste sensation, disinterest in food and fluids. To speak with the elderly during this time, they are very aware and totally unafraid.

    It is often said that the ones who are left behind suffer more than the deceased. I believe that is true. Kindness, consideration and respecting the wishes of our elders – difficult but should be something we are all aware of.

    Just wanted to speak my piece about this. Accepting death is something we all must learn to do, whether it is our family member or our own. Maybe that’s why the term we all look towards is Death With Dignity.

  31. While my Dad could still speak, he was aware and knew the end of his life was very near, but he still was afraid.

  32. Lainey: I’m sorry for that for your dad, and also for what it causes you to remember.

    For some reason, our society has chosen to treat death as frightening. It happens to all of us. I’m truly not trying to be uncaring or thoughtless – but it is a true statement.

    Some societies, religions, cultures treat death as “the end of life”. They revere it when an elder is relieved of their pain and suffering – and they choose to believe that their member is in a better place particularly if they have been very ill.

    We are a huge advocate of hospice care. The kindness, the family support, the job that hospice does it worth it’s weight in gold. Even if it’s just a 10 minute run to the store, they are right there to help and support the family. Our families have always chosen hospice – it is also a charity that we support.

    Recently “going home to die” has been used as a distasteful thing however many people voluntarily choose to go home with hospice care. Again it is simply another choice that can be made. Often families are not aware it is available – some hospitals have hospice units and there are often community hospice agencies that come to the home any time day or night to provide family respite and care. Any physician can help a family get through a situation and help them obtain the resources if a family desires.

    Addressing death as a normal function of life, helps some people. No one wants to die, but making it as stress free and comfortable and caring as possible does help everyone, not just the patient, but the family as well.

    Hospice workers are angels on earth. Ask anyone who has taken advantage of hospice in their home and their feelings will bring tears to the family’s eyes.

    It’s just another choice – and if handled well and appropriately, some people will use it.

    Again Lainey, I’m sorry your Dad was afraid. My father died in hospice care and our family was eternally grateful to the physician who suggested we pursue it.

  33. Thank you basheert…sorry for your loss as well. My Dad was under Hospice care too and they were wonderful, but unfortunately my Dad could not be at home. I know some ppl are not afraid to die and I wish my Dad was one of those…he just didn’t want to leave me I guess. 😦 I miss him every single day.

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