On closer inspection, the country seems more like a panoroma of madness and delusion worthy of Hieronymous Bosch: of sturdy blue-collar patriots reciting the Pledge while they strangle their own life chances; of small farmers proudly voting themselves off the land; of devoted family men carefully seeing to it that their children will never be able to afford college or proper health care; of working-class guys in midwestern cities cheering as they deliver up a landslide for a candidate whose policies will end their way of life, will transform their region into a "rust belt," will strike people like them blows from which they will never recover.
Meatpacking Garden City [Kansas] voted for George W. Bush in even greater numbers than did affluent Johnson County. The blue-collar, heavily unionized city of Wichita used to be one of the few Democratic strongholds in the state; in the nineties it became on of the most consistently conservative places of them all, a mighty fortress in the wars over abortion, evolution, loose interpretation of the Constitution, and water fluoridation.
“This is about the dismantling of this country,” Katy Abram, 35, said forcefully to Mr. Specter, drawing one of the most prolonged rounds of applause. “We don’t want this country to turn into Russia.”
“It says plainly right there they want to limit the type of care elderly can get,” said Laurel Tobias, an office manager from Lebanon, referring to a bill in the House. “They are talking about killing people.”
On Thursday, Mr. Grassley [Republican senator from Iowa] said in a statement that he and others in the small group of senators that was trying to negotiate a health care plan had dropped any “end of life” proposals from consideration.
A pending House bill has language authorizing Medicare to finance beneficiaries’ consultations with professionals on whether to authorize aggressive and potentially life-saving interventions later in life.
The syndicated conservative columnist Cal Thomas wrote, “No one should be surprised at the coming embrace of euthanasia.” The Washington Times editorial page reprised its reference to the Nazis, quoting the Aktion T4 program: “It must be made clear to anyone suffering from an incurable disease that the useless dissipation of costly medications drawn from the public store cannot be justified.”
The extent to which it and other provisions have been misinterpreted in recent days, notably by angry speakers at recent town hall meetings but also by Ms. Palin — who popularized the “death panel” phrase — has surprised longtime advocates of changes to the health care system.
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgement of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
“Sometimes for the common good, you just have to say, ‘Hey, Grandpa, you’ve had a good life.’ ”
Although the brochure on his Aetna policy seemed to indicate it covered up to $150,000 a year in hospital care, the fine print excluded nearly all of the treatment he received at an Austin, Tex., hospital. He and his wife, Claire, filed for bankruptcy last December, as his unpaid medical bills approached $200,000.
“Underinsurance is the great hidden risk of the American health care system,” said Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who has analyzed medical bankruptcies. “People do not realize they are one diagnosis away from financial collapse.”
Last week, a former Cigna executive warned at a Senate hearing on health insurance that lawmakers should be careful about the role they gave private insurers in any new system, saying the companies were too prone to “confuse their customers and dump the sick.”