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Grassley and Grandma

By Perry Bacon Jr.
PANORA, Iowa -- A day after President Obama condemned conservative critics for suggesting that a provision in health-care legislation would "basically pull the plug on Grandma," controversy over the issue bubbled up at a town hall meeting here.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who was holding a series of such meetings across his state, was asked by a Democrat in the crowd in Panora if he would criticize conservatives who have inaccurately suggested that a provision in the House bill would effectively create "death panels" to determine when people should die. In fact, the provision would provide Medicare reimbursement to doctors who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical interventions they would prefer near the end of life and about how to prepare instructions, such as living wills. The sessions would be voluntary.

"If you've got a government-run health-care program and you have crowding out, and then you go to a Canadian-style plan and everyone starts studying what England does ... when you couple this with all of other fears people have and what they do in England, then you get the idea that somebody is going to decide Grandma has lived too long," Grassley said in response, not quite batting down the inaccurate claim, nor backing it.

The questioner, Cheri Heiland, persisted, telling Grassley, "You know there is nothing in the House bill that will require any elderly person to stand before a committee and decide whether or not they are going to live or die." Much of the crowd booed and said she was wrong.

The senator instead went on to condemn the idea of end-of-life counseling, no matter how it is structured.

"I think the best thing to do is if you want people to think about the end of life, number one, Jesus Christ is the place to start, and after that, in the physical life, as opposed to your eternal life, it ought to be done within the family and considered a religious and ethical issue and not something that politicians deal with," he said.

By Washington Post Editor  |  August 12, 2009; 8:41 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Next: Conrad Sees Little Chance for Public Option


Where is the discussion about the massive fraud in Medicare and government run health care. Estimates are that it exceeds 12 billion dollars a year. So we are now going to trust these seem nimrods with our health care?

Let's do this in steps. The first step is the government fixes the rampant fraud in Medicare and other government run health care and then gets back to us about Phase II.

I think this is something we could all get behind.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | August 12, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Well at least Obama achieved something shovel ready, health care!

Posted by: sperrico | August 12, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are looking pretty desperate and tone-deaf. Obama lied that AARP
"endorsed" Obama's legislation. AARP publicly denied supporting Obama's plan. The little girl at Portsmouth meeting was a set-up.. her mother is the coordinator of Massachusetts group for Obama. Pelosi calls dissent "un-American"; Gibbs attacks
cable TV. Obama attacks FOX. Instead of
trying to understand why Americans don't like Obamacare, they're attacking Americans instead.

Posted by: ohioan | August 12, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

So is Grassley suggesting that here in Canada we euthanize Grandma?

"If you've got a government-run health-care program and you have crowding out, and then you go to a Canadian-style plan and everyone starts studying what England does ... when you couple this with all of other fears people have and what they do in England, then you get the idea that somebody is going to decide Grandma has lived too long," Grassley said in response, not quite batting down the inaccurate claim, nor backing it.

Does Grassley actually understand what a Canadian style health plan is? As a Canadian who is married to an American I do understand the difference between the two styles of health care. In Canada no one comes between me and my doctor. No insurance company tells me what treatments I am eligible for. No one I know has ever been turned away from a hospital (and I have worked as an EMT, and currently work with the homeless).

Perhaps Grassley needs to do some research on Canadian Health Care before he criticizes it. And perhaps he should read the draft bill before lying about what it contains. And yes, Grassley is a liar. How do I now? I have read HR3200, which is more than 99.99% of the screamers can say.

Posted by: alysheba_3 | August 12, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Appearing at a town hall in his home state of Iowa, Sen. Chuck Grassley told a crowd of more than 300 that they were correct to fear that the government would "pull the plug on grandma."

"There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life," Grassley said. "And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear. You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life. You ought to have counseling 20 years before you're going to die. You ought to plan these things out. And I don't have any problem with things like living wills. But they ought to be done within the family. We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma."

This is what the health insurance industry gets for its two million dollars (donations to Grassley's political campaign war chest).

It could be (I doubt it) the proposed "reform" of the health-care industry is misguided and that the present, extremely expensive and not comprehensive nor effective health-care we got is the best we can do, but killing grandma is not being proposed. The spectre of killing grandma, especially The Socialist Government of the United States of America killing grandma, is enough to send legions of angry, ill informed, mistrustful, old, white folks to meetings where they shout at elected representatives. The aim is clear. Turn the effort into a muddle and delay, again, socialized medicine in the U.S. Imprudent, pre-emptive war is okay; medicine, for those in need, not. The Golden Rule applies: those with the money rule. And those with the money are health insurance companies. It is they who are telling grandma today that it is time for her to go.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | August 12, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Lets be adults and face the facts: If 80% of healthcare costs occur in the last weeks of life, Isn't it naive to think that parameters or rules won't be set-up to address these end-of-life issues? Either way, now's the time to talk about this, not later.

Posted by: ohioan | August 13, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Grassley is not dumb as a stick, just a frightened silly older guy who wants power in the senate more than he wants a decent life for those who don't know which end of the stick they should use to draw in the dirt.

Posted by: rpmcestmoicoxnet | August 13, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

"The questioner, Cheri Heiland, persisted, telling Grassley, 'You know there is nothing in the House bill that will require any elderly person to stand before a committee and decide whether or not they are going to live or die.' Much of the crowd booed and said she was wrong."

It is really hard to stay engaged and, honestly, to care, when this is the level of debate. So now people out there believe that the proposed health care plan is some nouveau version of Logan's Run?! The Carousel! The Carousel!

And why would they think such a thing? "'There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life," Grassley said. "And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear."

Ah, yes. Get them afraid...very afraid. Then they are putty in your hands.

I don't even know that I'm a fan of the new healthcare plan. It has the look of something that isn't really what anyone wants, patched together by committee. I'd like a lot more detail, a lot more serious discussion in the public forum.

Instead we get this garbage. Gag me.

Posted by: jennybean1 | August 13, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Millions of Americans, mostly elderly, are already on government insurance. Medicare.
This whole uproar seems to be the result of misinformation.
It reminds me of how over 50% of the people believed Saddam was behind 9/11.
These untruths are dangerous and always draped in the flag.

Posted by: adrunkinthemidnightchoir | August 13, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

No, the issues that all the above missed was why the rush on something as important as health care involvement by the goverment? People's lives & health care are NOT like financial institutions, insurance companies, or auto companies facing a financial catastrophe or a financial deadline for bankrupcy.

The issues of health care are multidecades long and will require years to solve. Why is the government under Obama trying to push this so hard? Well, the real reason is FEAR on the Democrats part because they failed to get this done under Hillary Clinton watch who tried to ram this down as fast as possible but was stopped dead in the water.

When the issue of Social Security viability came up under Bush term, there were presentations and town halls by Bush for "privatization" of Social Security. This was stopped dead in the water and the collective wisdom of the people need not look much farther than Wall Street today.

So, at the moment, with only 20% of the population with out health insurance coverage for many years, what is the rush to pull wool on the collective wisdom of people and reject the rush to action because any discussion of the House plan will bring out a lot of questions and what ifs and what happens and what could be or should be done for health care. Because of this, a closer inspection will see a lot of faults with Obama health care that will need to be addressed.

Posted by: ernestt | August 13, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Medicare is one of the best-run government agencies we've got. Why don't you ask the elderly if they'd like to give it up?

I cannot believe how ignorant Americans have become. Have most of the people posting on this board even been to Europe? Well I have, I lived there for 3 years. Healthcare was excellent and the most that I, even as an American, paid for a prescription was about 8 Euros (12 dollars). That's what they cap it there. Americans get screwed because they are superstitious fools who believe anything they see on TV. Did you not read the report that FOX news won the right in court not to report the truth? It's an entertainment channel. It is not "News".

It is so depressing that we cannot move forward in this country and make it a more humane place where people cannot be denied insurance or where people without insurance don't have to wait in line for 2 days once a year to see a free doctor.

I hope that all the crazy right-wing Faux-News people will recognize that they will be the ones with blood on their hands if we can't get national health insurance.

Let's try this: maybe the right-wing fruitcakes shouldn't be able to use ANY of our "socialist" services, like the post office, K-12 schools, fire departments, police, medicare, medicaid, roads, etc.

I am willing to give up our publicly funded socialist military in exchange.

Posted by: waltz1 | August 13, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Grassley is terrified of the right wing organizations that are feeding the paranoid frenzy. He knows that the rabid mob could turn on him if he doesn't embrace the most extreme claims being made by Palin, Rush and the other extremist crack-pots.

What a tool. He'll look back and wish he showed some integrity and backbone.

Posted by: thebobbob | August 13, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

So far Obama can be trusted. Since he is doing an outstanding job of managing his administration, the administration can also be trusted. But congress is dysfunctional. They cannot be trusted and are addicted to lying. Obama cannot fire members of congress, only us voters can. Truths and lies can be proven by presenting the written word to the American people from health care plans. We must expose what is true and what is false. For example: prove from the plans written word if the following lies are true or false and show these written words to the American people. We hope & pray that the American people will sweep congress clean next election. That is our only hope for a functional government.
Lie #1: President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!
Lie #2: Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!
Lie #3: President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!
Lie #4: Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens' Medicare benefits!
Lie #5: Obama's health care plan will bankrupt America!

Posted by: bobv1 | August 13, 2009 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Grassley is the worst kind of politician - one who intentionally allows a misperception to continue. He knows very well that the woman questioning him is correct. Instead of clearing the air and responding truthfully, and accurately, he chose to distort the facts. That's not part of the American ideal.

Posted by: nihao1 | August 13, 2009 3:31 AM | Report abuse

Well thank you very much Senator Geezer,for spreading more Neo Nazi Fear Facts to Farmers. In your case,why wait for the results of the "Death Panel",you should be taken to the Dog Pond and put to sleep,today.
Your departure could save the the Big Pharma Millions of Dollars of bribes,and I am sure,they would pass the savings right on to the idiot audience,the free loaders on those current "Socialism" Plans like Medicare, who believe your tall tales and plots.
I think you forgot to mention this plot;if this Health Care Bill passes,there is a provision in it to force "Chick O Fil" to open on Sundays.

Posted by: jeromejmarkiewicz | August 13, 2009 3:52 AM | Report abuse

Grassley must have joined the Insurance lobbyists and wingnuts. He owes all seniors a major apology. there is a related post at

Posted by: carlyt | August 13, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

As an Iowan who has always admired Grassley's common sense and bipartisan approach, I find his comments horribly embarassing. This was a great opportunity for him to put all the misinformation and fear-mongering to rest. Instead, he promoted it. The irony is Grassley's own grandson, an Iowa legislator, supported a similar state-law provision just this year:

Posted by: tscottm | August 13, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

President Obama needs to remind the Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans what Ronald Reagan said: To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last - but eat you he will.

If they back down on offering a public option that will really help the people, which has been established won't harm the too-powerful insurance companies or Medicare or Medicaid or the VA, the people not screaming at town meetings won't forget.

The news stories yesterday should have been about the thousands of people who started lining up the night before in California at a stadium to get free health services just as if we were a third-world nation. Many had to be turned away.

Still, the Republicans don't care; they're bought and paid for by the insurance companies whose executives are paid many millions from money saved by refusing to pay necessary medical services. They're coming between the doctors and good health care, not the government, and causing bankruptcies that everyone pays for.

Posted by: BettyW1 | August 13, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

It is so easy to become discouraged by the continuing barrage of lies, calumny and half-truths coming from the paid shills and the honestly-frightened gullible people who have fallen for right wing propaganda re health reform. I am being dragged down into despair by the seeming inability of millions of otherwise sane Americans to tell the difference between fact and fiction, even when the fiction is so unsubtley contrived. I have come to the point where, like a drowning man, I can only pop to the surface long enough to yell "Help!" With this last gasp of hope, let me plead with our president not to be like me: DON'T GIVE UP! Hang in there and hold out to the bitter end to salvage at barest minimum a public option. I am glad that you are stronger than me, sir.

Posted by: HotDem | August 13, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

First off let's understand one thing. Everyone keeps calling this Obamacare. FACTS: It should be called Congresscare. They're the ones writing the PROPOSED bill. At present there isn't a bill on the floor to approve. There are three proposed legislatations on the floor. Obamacare is fiction but from the looks of things President Obama SHOULD HAVE written a bill and submitted it to congress for revisions and approval. I challenge all of the screamers and no sayer to present FACTS because the fear tactics will not work anymore and I wish they quit assuming the American people are STUPID! We are NOT! Most importantly I challenge ordinary Americans to research and read the documentation of what is proposed ON-LINE before you say you disagree. Half of most of the people that are so upset hasn't READ nothing... Come on, stop letting the media hype you up and go read the FACTS for yourself and your family... You VOTED for "Change". Change isn't easy nor does it happen overnight. You say you are an American well start acting like one and not a whinner. You should have been whining and protesting 8 years ago... This is the product of mishandled and misled government that didn't care jack about you Americans. Don't blame the new administration for casting a boneheaded vote 8 years ago. Step up and be heard with FACTS not HYPE so we can move forward with "CHANGE".

Posted by: ConsciousMindz | August 13, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Cosidering that Grassley leads the pampered life with all his health insured he will find himself at the point where someone is going to have to tell him that he has reached a rather terminal state in his life, if it's his paster good for him it may even help him in the after life (excuse me for betting against both of these odds), but if the guy wants to know what his options are before he gets to meet his maker, I'll be betting that he'll go to consult a physician. And I'm betting against him asking, "where can I plug in?"

Posted by: glenglish | August 13, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing how misinformed people are that attend these town hall meetings. The funny part of all this is that the proposed health care reform will benefit everyone compared to what we have today. The bottom line is this; if you want to have high out of pocket expenses, high premiums, threat of losing your coverage then continue to protest. So don't start complaining when the reform is defeated. Americans' are basically stupid.

Posted by: f_anzalonebushwacker | August 13, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

While Sarah Palin, Shawn Hannity, Glen Beck and other outlandish Republicans continue to use all of these scare tactics and outright lies, why are all of us writing here not doing more to get the CORRECT message out? Maybe all of us should talk to one person you know that is against this reform for all the wrong reasons, teach them the truth,and encourage them to tell one person they know (probably that someone who talked them into believing it in the first place). Tell them to use reason when they are learning the truth. Everyone should have a Living Will, whether it is done from a printed out form on-line,or with their lawyers when they do their Will or from other family members encouraging each other. You should have one done when you are young. As a young adult, if you don't have one, you could end up being plugged into a machine for years at a very high cost to everyone. Remember Terri Schiavo? Everyone should say what they want done LEGALLY when it looks as though there is nothing medically that can be done. BUT YOU NEED TO DO IT WHEN YOU ARE OF HEALTHY MIND. Who wants to live brain dead? Ask these people that. That is what this fear is about. My mother (85) said "but maybe they will develop something while I'm brain dead that can bring me back to life". This is when I knew she needed more explaining. $35,000 a week to have her lay brain dead while her family is suffering much more than she and losing money each day they watch her lay there, rather than be able to work. That money could have fought for a cure for cancer for my sister who died when she shouldn't have. Make it real.

Posted by: ncarvill1 | August 13, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I have worked - as a volunteer and professional - in the field of rural health and health education for many decades, with a fair amount of experience with elders. In an era of 8-10 minute physician visits, it is long past time that accomodation be made for sufficient time for providers to discuss end-of-life planning with patients and their families. Though still a ways for Medicare eligibility, I have a Living Will and organ donar card, that can guide family and medical providers should misfortune befall me...everyone likely should. To see this shamelessly mischaracterized by GOP leadership and their scummy buddies on Hate Radio as some sort of a "death panel" profoundly affirms my decision to become an EX-Republican.

Posted by: Pokeyboy | August 13, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

More of the Repuglican rattle trap!

Posted by: asclepious2 | August 13, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

When you view the many ads now running on TV about the "awful" healthcare plans, please pay attention to who pays for the ads. Then check them out. The insurance companies are spending millions of dollars to defeat reform and protect their "golden goose". If your doctor tells you surgery is necessary, who gets the first call? The Insurance Company. We have rationed care now and we might as well admit it.

Posted by: gan11 | August 13, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed at the fools that listen to corporate America and the GOP lie machine. REgular people stand and boo for a plan that will help this country and think they are protecting their rights; when what they are protecting is the insurance and pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars of profits. The GOP and some of the Democrats are bought and paid for; the rest of them are trying to help this country and its citizens. WAKE UP America.

Posted by: starr4 | August 13, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Here are the problems with the end of life provision of the bill. 1. End of life consultants may not even be a physician. The bill provides for physicians assistants and nurses to be end of life consultants. 2. The consultants are trained by the government which is not a disinterested party. 3. The patients who are gravely ill may be vulnerable and easily led or open to suggestion by the person of authority who has been their caretaker. 4. The end of the consultation may result in an order to end life sustaining treatment. There are no safe guards; no waiting period; no provisions for if a patient changes their mind or their condition improves or for the intervention of a close family member who may think that the patient is not mentally competent to make a life ending decision. 5. The provision was introduced by Earl Blumenauer, Representative from Oregon. Oregon is one of two states which have legalized assisted suicide. Blumenauer is a radical liberal who just introduced legislation to install a tracking device in your car in order to tax the mileage you drive. He rides a bicycle to work. While the bill does not mandate euthanasia or assisted suicide do you think this is not a slippery slope to euthanasia? Another odious provision of the bill is the benefit commission to be made up of 26 members of which 19 are appointed by the president. How would you like to have the likes of George W. Bush or Dick Cheney in control of your health care benefits?

Posted by: hossplay3 | August 13, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

You have to feel sorry..kind of..for these silly old fools (oh hush..I get social security, too) who receive social security, medicare, fire and police services, mail delivered, roads repaired, etc., etc...yet can NOT see the huge contradiction in what they're saying..or are told to say! Yes, and that's another point..why are they always reading their comments in these town halls? These aren't just a few scribbled notes to remind themselves of what they want to address..they are sheets and sheets of type-written ( can see this) "talking points"! Why..from one town hall to another, are these comments phrased with almost identical words..almost identical chants..almost identical hysteria! If you speak with conviction about something, then you don't need a "script" to get going with your POV! Yet, it is these same obedient drones who are getting the royal shaft from the very insuramafioso they are defending! It boggles the mind! Ignorance can be corrected..stupidity is irreparable!

Posted by: janbana | August 13, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

It's easy to find something negative about anything. I was optimistic under the Bush Administration, although I did not care for Bush Jr. I remain optimistic under the Obama Administration. If you are finding something negative, don't let it consume you. Life is just too short.

Posted by: Excelkim | August 13, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse


That's a real condemnation of someone -"he rides a bicycle to work' He must REALLY be a bad guy.

Posted by: jo1028fraser | August 13, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

And this is the guy who Obama is looking to find bi-partisan ground with!?

Grassley is a stooge for the insurance companies who own him lock, stock and barrel, and he is a hostage of the right-wing of his own party that has decided to make health care reform Obama's "Waterloo".

Grassley, the insurance companies and the Republican Party don't give a fig about "Grandma" or you or me or any other American suffering under the abomination of this for-profit health care system that has us spending vastly more and getting vastly less than all the "socialized" health care systems in Europe and Canada.

Health care is a human right and a social responsibility. Why can't America recognize this? I guess there isn't enough profit in doing what is right. For god's sake! People's lives are at stake here. People in this country are going bankrupt, getting sicker than they need to be, even dying because of a health care system that places profit over people. And these corporations have enough money to buy all the politicians and news outlets they need to to keep their little cornucopia flowing.

The health care corporations are getting away with this by playing into the fears and biases of all the people who have no better source for their information than lying Rush Limbaugh and FOX News.

Posted by: billwalz | August 13, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

As your relative ages, I would think one would want to know what their wishes are for the end of life care and who should get the house and car...

Posted by: edmundsingleton1 | August 14, 2009 4:42 AM | Report abuse

I found Grassley's comments about end-of-life discussions being the proper province of clergy interesting. Indeed, if he had not insisted that Jesus Christ is the place to start, I would have agreed whole-heartedly. But it is not a senator's place to impose his religious beliefs on his constituency. I do share his opinion that talking to one's rabbi, imam, pastor, or priest is, ideally, the best place to start end-of-life discussions, as my father did before his final illness. But doctors have important information to contribute to this discussion too, and insurance companies, including Medicare, should be encouraged to pay them for participating.

Posted by: mhneudel | August 14, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to believe that 80% of Americans are actually covered. The current estimate dtd 7/1/09 of the total US population is 304,059,724.00. Which means only 60,811,944.80 are uninsured. If a policy costs, for instance, $3000 per year for a family of four, that means we would need to spend $45,608,958,600.00 per year to cover these people. We're spending about that every two months in Iraq. My point is that there are positive ways to do this. So why aren't we looking for a solutions instead of letting the Medical Industry, who doesn't want reform despite what they say, dictate to us how to do this. With all the people losing jobs today along with their insurance, you would think that more people would be open to this type of health care reform. The saddest thing is that we have other country's that are already doing this and we could learn a lot from them about not making the mistakes they made in getting their programs off the ground. We'll see. I'm hopeful.

Posted by: CommonSense36 | August 14, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse


More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (85% of democrats, 71% of independents, and 60% of republicans). Basically everyone.

AND NO INSURANCE MANDATES WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION ON DAY ONE! An insurance mandate without a strong government-run public option choice on day one, would be a DISASTER! And it would be worse than the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE HORROR! SHOW you have now. YOU MUST MAKE CERTAIN!! THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN AMERICA.

The healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the House Of Representatives are excellent bills as I understand them. They are bills with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. They are carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. These bills will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. They are also now supported by the AMA.

These are the type of bills that all Americans can feel good about. And these are the type of bills that have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. These bills have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bills released by the first two committees should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind these healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support the first two committees bills with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. These first two House committees healthcare bills are VERY, VERY GOOD! bills for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of these bills if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for these bills.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!


Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | August 14, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

If indeed the Living Will is included in the Health Care Plan...and Living Trust...and Will Planning and Power of Attorney....for the elderly....that is great. If this part of the health care plan for which these are included'll save the elderly monies that if they are to do it themselves will cost thousands of dollars.
Just to do the will and the living trust and the living will and the power of attorney cost us about $7,000.
People does not realize that these are things that needs to be done for the benefits of individual that they will be leaving behind when the inevitable time comes. This is a fact of life.
My question is.....why the resistance in the part of so many people who calls this health care plan benefits a "DEATH PANEL"
Living will is VERY important to the concern individual so their loveones may make the decision for them when they are not able to make those decision for themselves...whether to continue the life support or unplug the life support according to the individual who made a LIVING WILL. If no living will is in place, a court intervention would have to make those decision(s) for the loveones of the concern individual. The cost of continuing the life support....or the cost of legal expenses petitioning for court decision to unplug the life support are tremendous financial burden which the lovesones will have to incur. I really do not understand why we all can't face the reality and the fact that NO ONE LIVES FOREVER.

Posted by: prudencerussell | August 14, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

My father died in 2006 after a wonderful 86 year life. We had discussed his demise several years before it happened, and on his own initiative, he had a living trust written, and, believe you me, it is absolutely essential. I became the executor of his final remains, and thanks to him, I'm still able to have a life of my own, free of debt from funeral arrangements, etc. In case you're wondering, I did have to make decisions, both about him and my YOUNGER brother (died at age 50) who followed in the example of my father. I was also "elected" to be his "executor" regarding his (brother's_ remains. Anyone who thinks that a couseling is "pulling the plug" on the elderly really needs to rethink (or just plain think). I not only recommend talking about it, get a living trust. It doesn't help much to just pray. Remember the Lord helps those who help themselves. Grassley and the naysayers are on the take. Don't listen to them. They are on the insurance lobby dole. They will say anything to remain so.

Posted by: nwsjnky1 | August 14, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I wanna thank all of you who express their views about this Heath Insurance Reform. I am a sioux city constituent and i am totally devastated to hear Mr. Grassley lying obviously about what we as people are expecting. Grassley and all the insurance maffiosso must understand that we the people have voted for the change and will not let them play their deadful game as vampires who want to suck our blood for ever. Obama courage to step against the giant lobby remind us that we will win and have the bill pass this year, that is what i am go to tell Mr. Grassley in his office at Sioux City today. Shame on Republicans they will regret their tactics in 2010.

Posted by: A55TOU | August 14, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

One of the first posters on this story menttioned the fraud and waste associated with Medicare and stated that needed to be fixed first. I agree it needs to be fixed, to stop and proscecute those who commit fraud. But who is commiting the fraud? Not the government, but health care providers. If there was ever a reason to prove we need health care reform, this is one of the really good reasons. One of the reforms the president has been pushing is the use of technology, i.e. everyones records being computerized, which will not only keep mistakes from being made, but will also help stop fraud and waste. It will be much harder to double charge, overcharge, make up patients or any of the many other ways that Medicare fraud is perpetuated if records are computerized. We need to change the way health care is/isn't delivered in the United States. We also need to demand accountablity from those who provide the care and those who pay for it, whether it is the government or insurance companies. It kills me that people aren't screaming about the high salaries and bonuses insurance executives receive while at the same time denying coverage to people who have faithfully paid premiums. You screamed about salaries and bonuses of Wall Street and banks, what about the insurance industry? Lets demand accountability from them. If there were ever anything that could be called death panels, it would be the current insurance industry. They currently decide life and death. Look at the evidence.

Posted by: alaskan2 | August 14, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

He's usually a voice of reason so I was shocked that Grassley used the phrase "Pulling the plug on grandma." This is not like Grassley. He usually does not resort to throwing verbally explosive comments like that. It's hard to believe he would not know that the visual image he is projecting is a total falsehood, at least the way he presented it. Grassley must be receiving some big bucks from Aetna, Wellpoint, United Healthcare, or Cigna. For sure someone in the healthcare industry is shoveling millions of bucks into Grassley's campaign coffers.

No one was going to pull the plug on granny under any healthcare reform bill that was or is being considered.

What Grassley failed to mention is that those four healthcare companies are pulling the plug on granny and gramps everyday under the private healthcare system. I know a guy that had the plug pulled by his healthcare insurance company. He died as a result. So it's happening right now without reform. This guy had a heart attack. He was retired and in his 70's. He was sent to a nursing home because he needed a lot of care. The private healthcare insurance company told him he had to do physical rehab or they would not pay for his care. He was too weak to do rehab at the time. They pulled the plug on him, cancelled his care at the nursing home and he died. I don't know if he had a living will or discussed what Grassley asserted. I know the insurance company did pull the plug on him and he died because they did. You have to wonder why Grassley is saying nothing about private health insurance pulling the plug on granny and gramps. Maybe it's alright if private companies pull the plug, as long as they stuff a few million into his campaign coffers. This is rationing by the private healthcare system. It goes on everyday. The CEO of that health insurance company ought to be charged with murder and tried for it. The only reason he made that rule was to pull the plug and kill his insureds instead of paying for their treatmnent. If he's convicted, then they ought to impose a capital punishment on him.

Posted by: ssweitzer | August 16, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Since Grassley thinks we should talk about end-of-life issues "twenty years before we die", can he tell me how to predict my death? I'm eighty years old right now. Will he guarantee me twenty more years of life if I do my end-of-life counseling with the priest, rabbi, pastor or iman right now? If so, I'M VOTING FOR THAT MAN even if I have to move to his state to do so. I predict that if he can predict when that twenty-year period starts, his state will be inundated with people who will move there, thinking that he has his finger on the pulse, not of the nation, but on the pulse of us seniors. Can anyone really believe this moron!

Posted by: GrannyAnnie | August 17, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I've read the part of the bill in question; either Grassley hasn't read it, or he knows that he's just plain lying. Either way, I won't vote for him next year.

Posted by: kernel85 | August 17, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I have known Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for over 50 years. We were both born in Bremer County, went to the same schools, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa (back then it was a teachers college), and one thing was well known: Grassley's veracity and credibility could not be trusted. Self-serving, he was quick to hone in on popular discontent and general hysteria, using both to further his own personal and career goals. He cares nothing about "grandma"--but about winning elections and takes major contributions from the health and pharmaceutical industries.

As the number of unemployed and underemployed rise and health care is impossible to buy privately (at 58 I was "unemployed" and 5 years later still cannot get a job or health insurance as I had a heart attack, without paying $3000 a month) Grassley increasingly turns to the rich farmers (the days when the average farm was 80 acres are long gone along with my grandmother who lived and died in Osage) and the insurance lobbyists. His stump speeches follow the lobbyists guidelines, while promising "not to pull the plug on grandma" and blasting "government intrustion"--an intrusion he supported in 2003 when it came to the brain-dead Teri Shaivo in Florida where he joined the leadership of his party in diagosing her (from a video) as "being alive." Like his grandson, Patrick, who is running for "his" old seat in the Iowa Legislature, he will say anything while spiting the debate to roast it into cinder that only he can build on.

Grassley is a disgrace to Iowa. I can no longer admit my Iowa heritage except with great shame. Grassley's lies about "death panels" (patterned after Palin and Limbaugh) have long been discredited, but as an "institution in Iowa" Grassley will return to the Senate in 2010 to stop what is good for ALL Americans. He claims he is stopping "socialism" but is silent on two of the greatest socialist programs in the USA: Medicare and Medicaid--but to attack them would be tantamount to attacking Social Security (another socialist program) as his core group are Iowa's elderly who have a marginal education and no interest in research--but follow blinding the rantings of hatemongers on radio and TV.

Posted by: arthur_ide | August 17, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Again, another reference to Canadian healthcare. I happen to be Canadian and Grassley knows nothing of what he speaks regarding my country's healthcare system. The man was grossly misinformed or is just uninformed, not unlike the folks that attend his town halls.

No one gets between me and my doctor or the type of treatment I'd receive, if required. American politicians, media (...and that isn't exclusive to FOX) and pundits really need to check their facts before, quite frankly, showing the rest of world how widespread ignorance is in your country.

My tone of voice might be disconcerting to some and I can't help that, but if you were in my shoes you'd be miffed too....and why would you be? Because you're American; that is always the battle cry, heard in any and every country you choose to visit. If any other industrialized country repeatedly manufactured stories, regarding something the American people hold dear, you'd be the first to start waving that American flag and crying bloody murder!!

Posted by: Romeo5 | August 17, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I do not comprehend why americans are so afraid of our wonderful canadian system. In 2003 I was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that required two 48 week treatments of intense medication. I saw a specialist ever since 2003 on numerous occasions and I saw has nurses on a weekly basis then a twice monthly basis and then once a month and now less frequently. I had the top of the line expert everywhere I went - my meds were 1800 dollars per month. did I pay for anything? not one penny- unless you count prior taxes throughout my life of paying high taxes and it was well worth it. I have a feeling in the states I would have died from the disease and all the anxiety of paying huge amounts for health care. I wonder if anyone there - a jounalist cld find a counterpart of myself with the same disease and follow her journey and my journey and see what happened to her and to me- with the different medical opportunities-it wld make an interesting story-let me know

Posted by: norajuneycanadianbug | August 17, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Grassley: demon. (I said I'd call them out as long as Obama refuses to demoize them.)

Posted by: matthewjblack | August 17, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

ncarvill1: Good post. I agree, all of us on here who seem to have a pretty good grasp of what is happening should be doing something more. I actually tried today to talk to my sister-in-law. Hopeless. She seems to be of the opinion that this is all too scary to contemplate. She is a good woman, just not very political and hears all of these vicious sound bites and she retains them. We surely should be trying to get through to these folks but I don't have a clue how to do it.

Posted by: MaggiePi | August 17, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

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