Grassley Endorses "Death Panel" Rumor: "You Have Every Right To Fear"
One of the three Republican senators working on a bipartisan health care bill perpetuated a particularly outrageous untruth about the legislation on Wednesday.
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."
In making his remarks, Grassley becomes the latest in a string of GOP lawmakers to jump on a myth about the health care legislation produced by the House of Representatives. The most infamous statement was made last week by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who declared that the President's health care plan would set up a "death panel" to determine whether or not to euthanize her son with Down Syndrome.
The Iowa Independent was the first to report Grassley's remarks. The Huffington Post was able to obtain audio from an attendee at the event.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs hit back at Palin for her death panel remark, saying that the former governor had given out "information that I think many of you all pointed out was wrong." The House bill would require Medicare to cover voluntary consultations between individuals and their doctors about end of life care, including whether or not to write a living will. Several Republican lawmakers have endorsed the idea in past legislation.