Sunday, August 30, 2009

Did He Really Say That? Um, Not Exactly.

Speaking about health care reform, did Mike Huckabee really say that under proposed health care legislation, Senator Kennedy would have been told to "go home to take pain pills and die" as blogger after blogger after blogger and even Salon reported? Seriously?

Actually, that's not what he said. You can listen to his commentary here (click on the Thursday, August 27, morning commentary link). What he said was this:

[I]t was President Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don't have as long to live might want to consider just taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them," said Huckabee. "Yet when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He chose an expensive operation and painful follow-up treatments. He saw his work as vitally important and so he fought for every minute he could stay on this earth doing it. He would be a very fortunate man if his heroic last few months were what future generations remember him most for."

For liberals to take the words "go home to take pain pills and die" out of context and mis-characterize them is just as bad as what Huckabee did in that clip, which is to take President Obama's words, distort them a little, and mis-characterize them as quasi-euthanasia. In both cases, what's missing is integrity.

The President did not suggest that seniors "might want to just consider taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them," as Huckabee said. What he did say was this:

I don’t want bureaucracies making those decisions. But understand that those decisions are already being made in one way or another. If they’re not being made under Medicare and Medicaid, they’re being made by private insurers. …

[W]hat we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that’s not making anybody’s mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know, and your mom know, that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help, maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller. …

The point is we want to use science, we want doctors and medical experts to be making decisions that all too often right now are driven by skewed policies, by outdated means of reimbursement, or by insurance companies.

Is it ironic, or merely hypocritical, that in the same radio segment Mr. Huckabee criticized Dems for using Kennedy's death as a springboard for promoting health care legislation, saying, "Senator Ted Kennedy's death had barely hit the news before we started hearing calls that Congress must hurry and pass the health care reform bill and do it in his memory"? This kind of talk "defies good taste," he said, but then he went on to use Kennedy as an object lesson in support of his own health care arguments.

Now that's talking out of both sides of his mouth.

It really doesn't help in the long run if Dems trash Republicans and Republicans trash Dems and everyone proves that they are not really listening to and understanding the other side.

Don't you think we'd do a better job solving the healthcare problems if we actually spoke to one another with respect, and demonstrated a teeny bit of willingness to compromise?


Suzann said...

I read a quote today that I thought was interesting - "if the opposite pro is con then the opposite of progress is congress!" Just something to think about!

Hpaul said...

So, BHO did note that merely taking a pain pill was a legitimate option. It is, but that is not the option that Senator Kennedy chose.
I want the same options that Kennedy had, I don't want government bureaucracy in any part of my end of life or any other life decisions. I don't want to have my health care held back based on the decision of one of BHO's czars that are accountable to no one but BHO.
The main problems with US health care are lawyer/lawsuit and insurance bureaucracy problems. Now, do we solve such problems by installing more lawyers and a larger bureaucracy?
Can anyone name a 'single payer', 'public option' or government health care that works for patients both in terms of health and finances?
The answers begin with tort reform and with Health Savings accounts controlled by the patients themselves.
Can we all agree that when it comes to health care reform we stick to the principle of the Hippocratic Oath, "Above all, do no harm?"

E. Peevie said...


Obama's point, clearly, is that pain management is a legitimate option if science and best practices agree that an operation won't help.

His point was a general one, and not made in connection with a particular case like Kennedy's.

I believe that you and most of us are already headed toward govt. bureaucracy being involved in your end of life decisions via MediCare, unless you will be able to afford supplemental private insurance.

Did you read the Washington Post article in the previous Green Room post? It clearly identifies the countries with public health care options that work, and more importantly, those with universal coverage. Here's the link:

Japan is an example of a country with universal insurance coverage ("private sector coverage paid for by government-run insurance") that seems to work well for patients in terms of quality of care and cost.