I got pretty upset yesterday, late in the afternoon, when I read that the Senate Finance Committee has caved to hysteria and lies and has taken out of their proposed health care reform bill the part where Medicare will pay for people who want a counseling session on things like living wills.
Insanity. And then I heard how the former chief of staff for Sen. Baucus (D-Montana) is on the Obama staff now, and how that means it's likely the president has acquiesced to this caving.
It's such a good proposal. But it's been hijacked by "death panel" talk - by the very people who have, in the past, endorsed going to the hospital to get this kind of advice. And this was an amendment proposed by a Republican congressman!
Others have covered the issue, have explained the hypocrisy of the Republicans to call this "death panels" - people like Rachel Maddow, Paul Krugman, and then this blog entry which explains how the Republicans tried to pass that very same thing just a few years ago. (Sen. Grassley - R-Iowa - for all his blustering and fear-mongering two days ago, voted for it back in 2003.) Still, hysteria appears to have won the day.
The worst of it was - how upset I have been with Obama. Why cave to the crazies? (Crazy like a fox.)
So then I saw this. And I got some perspective, I think. It's a radio interview of a Rep. Boswell (D-Iowa), who explains that President Obama told him he'd be a one-term president if he has to, but the country needs to pass health care. "I'm not kicking this can down the road," he told Boswell...
I do really want the answer to my "crazies" question. And I don't know that I would be making the same decision. BUT - while this counseling provision is a great idea, it does not make or break health care reform. And for a president who is committed to doing this now and not later... Well, I respect it. And I appreciate it. Not for myself - my health care insurance is fine - but for all the people out there who need a way to buy health care insurance.
My only fear? That it won't work. If you cave to the crazies, it's like saying, "Oh my gosh, you're right! We did have death panels in the bill! Oops." And then what do you say when they go after the next provision, and lie about that? We could compromise our way out of a bill altogether. Sigh.