GOP Senator Calls Sarah Palin's 'Death Panel' Remarks 'Nuts'
Georgia’s junior Republican senator has something to say about Sarah Palin’s interpretation of US healthcare reform.
The Republican lawmaker, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), made the comments in an interview with Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein Monday. His remarks may underscore how far Palin has strayed from the Republican base. Isakson co-sponsored a measure a measure in 2007 aimed at educating Medicare patients about their options for end-of-life care.
“Is this bill going to euthanize my grandmother?” Klein asked Isakson, referring to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s comments that Democrats’ healthcare proposal would create “death panels.” “What are we talking about here?”
“In the health-care debate mark-up, one of the things I talked about was that the most money spent on anyone is spent usually in the last 60 days of life and that’s because an individual is not in a capacity to make decisions for themselves,” Isakson said. “So rather than getting into a situation where the government makes those decisions, if everyone had an end-of-life directive or what we call in Georgia ‘durable power of attorney,’ you could instruct at a time of sound mind and body what you want to happen in an event where you were in difficult circumstances where you’re unable to make those decisions.”
“How did this become a question of euthanasia?” Klein asked.
“I have no idea,” the senator replied. “I understand — and you have to check this out — I just had a phone call where someone said Sarah Palin’s web site had talked about the House bill having death panels on it where people would be euthanized. How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as that is nuts. You’re putting the authority in the individual rather than the government. I don’t know how that got so mixed up.”
The senator noted that all fifty states — including Palin’s Alaska — have some power of attorney or end-of-life directives aimed at protecting guardians from having to make life-or-death decisions.
“All 50 states now have either durable powers of attorney or end-of-life directives and it’s to protect children or a spouse from being put into a situation where they have to make a terrible decision as well as physicians from being put into a position where they have to practice defensive medicine because of the trial lawyers,” Isakson said.