I called Sarah Palin a flat-out liar in my previous post because I believe she is too intelligent to believe that Obama’s reform agenda really includes “death panels” which would coerce euthanasia on senior citizens. The purpose of Palin’s deliberate lie was to get language about patient choice and living wills removed from the Senate version of the bill, which she succeeded in doing. With the cynical assumption that it won’t be restored in the final version of the bill, this is tantamount to denial of patients’ right to make decisions about their care at precisely the point in time when they are most vulnerable and least able toc ommunicate those desires.
Watching the Rachel Maddow show this evening, I saw a segment which made Palin’s grotesque hypocrisy on the matter quite clear – the official declaration of April 16, 2008 as “Healthcare Decisions Day” in Alaska, as proclaimed by then-Governor Sarah Palin. Here is the full text of the proclamation from the official website of the State of Alaska:
Healthcare Decisions Day
WHEREAS, Healthcare Decisions Day is designed to raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions, related to end of life care and medical decision-making whenever patients are unable to speak for themselves and to encourage the specific use of advance directives to communicate these important healthcare decisions. WHEREAS, in Alaska, Alaska Statute 13.52 provides the specifics of the advance directives law and offers a model form for patient use.
WHEREAS, it is estimated that only about 20 percent of people in Alaska have executed an advance directive. Moreover, it is estimated that less than 50 percent of severely or terminally ill patients have an advance directive.
WHEREAS, it is likely that a significant reason for these low percentages is that there is both a lack of knowledge and considerable confusion in the public about Advance Directives.
WHEREAS, one of the principal goals of Healthcare Decisions Day is to encourage hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and hospices to participate in a statewide effort to provide clear and consistent information to the public about advance directives, as well as to encourage medical professionals and lawyers to volunteer their time and efforts to improve public knowledge and increase the number of Alaska’s citizens with advance directives.
WHEREAS, the Foundation for End of Life Care in Juneau, Alaska, and other organizations throughout the United States have endorsed this event and are committed to educating the public about the importance of discussing healthcare choices and executing advance directives.
WHEREAS, as a result of April 16, 2008, being recognized as Healthcare Decisions Day in Alaska, more citizens will have conversations about their healthcare decisions; more citizens will execute advance directives to make their wishes known; and fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the state of Alaska, do hereby proclaim April 16, 2008, as:
Healthcare Decisions Day in Alaska, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.
Dated: April 16, 2008
Sarah Palin knew full well last April that advance directives are not “death panels” and she knows full well that the text of the bill in question only calls for reimbursing doctors when patients choose to “have conversations about their healthcare decisions”. The text of the proclamation is a far beter rebuttal to Palin’s death Panel nonsense than anything else I’ve seen. And it bears Palin’s own signature.