Here is some of the current worst news on health reform:
The Senate Finance Committee’s health care plan will not include provisions dealing with end-of-life care, now one of the more controversial topics in the health care debate, the committee’s top Republican said on Wednesday.
Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa said in a statement that the committee “dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly.”
If anyone knows misinterpretation, it’s Senator Grassley. He’s the originator of such enlightened parting phrases as the one he tossed out at an Iowa meeting Wednesday, about not wanting a health plan “that will pull the plug on grandma.” There is, of course, no grain of truth in that phrase, but its repetition does exactly what Sen. Grassley and his ilk wish: whip the opposition to any real reform into an emotional, unthinking frenzy. And they are winning the war against reason one battle at a time.
A Senate Finance Committee aide confirmed that the panel was not discussing end-of-life measures, adding that they were “never a major focus” of the committee’s negotiations.
House committees have passed legislation that would provide Medicare coverage for optional counseling sessions on end-of-life services.
But as people like Senator Grassley, and former N.Y. Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey who sought fame and perhaps fortune by starting this whole flap, keep the country inflamed with misinformation the chances of decent legislation rising from these ashes grow dim.
The hopeless optimists of the land continue to believe that calls and letters and e-mails of sanity will convince our legislators that the country will rally around a decent bill… but Mr. Grassley and Ms. McCaughey are making optimism difficult.