13 August 2009
Idiot-Proofing the Healthcare Debate
A constructive suggestion by a Republican! Credit is due to Kathleen Parker, who seems like one of the few reasonable ones left. Her latest column addresses the fear inspired by the end-of-life counseling provision in the Democratic proposal. While she's literate enough to understand what it actually means, which is that such counseling will now be covered by insurance, she concedes that many people are bound to see that as the first step on a slippery slope that might lead to the "death panels" of Sarah Palin's rotten imagination. Parker offers an amendment which she hopes would calm most fears. "All that's needed is specific language saying that these end-of-life consultations are not mandatory -- either for physicians or patients -- and that there would be no penalty, either in coverage or compensation, for declining to participate," she writes. I see no reason for Democrats not to take up her suggestion. If they did this, Republicans and allied reactionaries would have even less excuse for their paranoid raving than they have now. Their continued opposition could then be attributed, as it should have been all along, not to fear but to hate.