Adam Nagourney delivered another one of his signature thumbsuckers this morning, 56,000 words or so of the usual tedious fretting over "bipartisanship." I liked especially the solemn warning to the president from Lamar Alexander that "There’s a huge price to be paid" for getting healthcare legislation passed without "bipartisan support," in that the legislation would not "be as good a product." Because, you know, if there’s one thing the 21st century Republican Party is known for, it’s the constructive criticism.
Take this valuable contribution to the public discourse from "House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)," which is, essentially, a more-in-crocodile-sorrow-than-reptile-minded-anger cloud of bullshit about how Barack Obama wants to kill your Grandma.
Section 1233 of the House-drafted legislation encourages health care providers to provide their Medicare patients with counseling on ‘the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration’ and other end of life treatments, and may place seniors in situations where they feel pressured to sign end of life directives they would not otherwise sign. This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia if enacted into law….
With three states having legalized physician-assisted suicide, this provision could create a slippery slope for a more permissive environment for euthanasia, mercy-killing and physician-assisted suicide because it does not clearly exclude counseling about the supposed benefits of killing oneself.
If you’re wondering what the hell that’s all about, well, it does look a bit odd, no? Is it sensible to think that one of the motivations of health care reform is the mass slaughter of our nation’s elderly? Well, no — because it isn’t. But the notion that it is has become quite the meme on the right. It’s all part of their heartfelt desire to make healthcare reform a "better product," you see.
I myself first noticed the "Obama wants your Grandma dead!" stuff last month, when it emanated from, where else, the rear end of Jonah Goldberg. As near as I can tell he was the first to sound the alarm fart about the impending Holocaust of American seniors, and if you think I’m exaggerating with the word "Holocaust," read his post. More lately it’s been Erick the son of Erick, Red State shitnozzle, who’s been flogging it. And now it’s all over, like a rash.
I take this particular line of "conservative" bullshit rather more personally than I do other sorts of crap these people spread about. First, my mom, bless her, worked over 21 years as a social worker at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. Part of her job was breaking some really rough news to patients with terminal diseases, and their loved ones, about just how stark their options were. That is tough, tough work, and requires a kind of bravery and compassion that I find deeply disrespected by recent wingnut posturing and demagoguery. Second, I watched my mom in law pass away from cancer, in hospice, and I saw firsthand what making a decision to choose palliative care over extraordinary and probably pointless interventions actually means to a family. And yes, "cost" was an issue — and my mom in law did consider it, and she was on Medicare. Contra Jonah Goldberg, neither woman is, or was, a Nazi. Honestly.
I know I’m supposed to bring the funny, but on this one, sorry, I’m just angry. Hospice workers embody grace, care, and compassion — I’m sure there are some rotten apples, as everywhere else, but personally I have never met anyone better. That the GOP seems determined to go full-metal Schiavo in order to score cheap points with their base and cable-news nitwits over this aspect of healtcare reform makes me ill. And furious. And it’s all garbage.
One day our nation will be able to have grownup conversations. That time is not yet now. Go here to learn about the realities.