Is There Anything Sarah Palin Can't Polarize?
Greg Sargent rounds up some other Republicans who have been supporters of adding end-of-life counseling to Medicare. He's got Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski on the list, but should also add Richard Lugar, who co-sponsored the 2007 Medicare End-of-Life Care Planning Act.
That said, I'm uncomfortable hunting down every Republican who ever supported sensible end-of-life counseling policies and demanding they denounce Sarah Palin. This is one of those aspects of health-care policy that should not be a partisan football. When Johnny Isakson offered his amendment in the Senate HELP Committee, it passed on an unanimous voice vote. Not a single Democrat dissented.
It is testament to Palin's talents as a polarizing force that she's managed to make this issue controversial. And I'm sympathetic to Sargent's argument that principled Republicans should denounce her demagoguery. But it'll be a real shame if a sensible policy encouraging end-of-life counseling becomes a casualty of Palin's political style. I fear it would be difficult for Isakson to argue today, as he did in April of 2008, that "you ought to be required to execute a durable power of attorney when you become eligible [for Medicare]." But that was the right policy then then and it's the right policy now. Encouraging individuals to set down their end-of-life treatment wishes when they're of sound mind and body is not a liberal idea or a conservative idea. It's simply a responsible idea. And that's why responsible members of both parties have advocated it.
Photo credit: Al Grillo -- Associated Press Photo.
August 12, 2009; 11:55 AM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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