Unfit for Leadership

Since former Governor and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin quit Alaska, we are seeing more of the woman who might have been our president. She confuses self-promotion with doing the work of God, just like any other cheap evangelist. She has no regard for the truth. She has no concern for handicapped children whose families didn’t have the gumption to get rich. She’ll spread lies to scare people away from constructing a health plan that will cover everyone, because the frenzy of hate she can whip up is her natural element.

“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 judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care,” the former Republican vice presidential candidate wrote.

“Such a system is downright evil,” Palin wrote on her page, which has nearly 700,000 supporters. She encouraged her supporters to be engaged in the debate.

There is no such system. There is no such system in consideration. The health care reform being debated is a complicated compromise because so many interests are afraid of being cut out. If we’re lucky, we’ll come out with something that covers more people–that seems the best we can hope for now. This mundane truth is less politically advantageous than an inflammatory lie, and Palin has opted to debate the Nazis, rather than the Americans. She only looks good in black and white.

The America we live in now is one where insurance companies deny care to the sick and the old, based on a subjective judgement of their level of profitability to the corporation. Boosted by our tax dollars, using our emergency rooms as a catastrophic insurance plan, insurance companies make billions from rationing out care.

There is not, and will never be, a health care system that does not have to allocate resources. Our current state of confusion encourages unnecessary tests and treatments to maximize profit, while denying basic preventive care to prevent illness and promote health. This is immoral and a national shame.

I never thought Sarah Palin wasn’t smart. She’ll be rich enough to build a compound on some island in Alaska, or more likely a warmer, more comfortable place. She can put away a good size trust fund for Trig, and he will have all the private doctors he needs. Meanwhile there are millions of American families who are supporting children with disabilities.

Remember Ladd School and the isolation of the kids in ‘special ed’? Remember the good old days when families were told to just put their baby away and try for another one? Change didn’t come from conservatives and the churches. It was not one-sided, but liberals and feminists, social workers and community organizers deserve a lot of credit for a more humane and accountable system for people in need.

The safety net of Medicaid is shredding. We need a national effort to insure everyone. Sarah Palin, who did not stick around as Governor to advocate for needy children in Alaska, is leading the attack against health care reform. Since the truth doesn’t serve her purpose, lies and scare tactics will do.

Meanwhile, families of disabled children are holding fundraisers and seeking grants to buy much-needed equipment, like wheelchairs and handicap showers. They see the bills come in, they have to worry about continued coverage for the daily necessities. They see costs that are far beyond their ability to cover on their own paycheck.

Pious words about ‘self sufficiency’ are not helpful. No one who isn’t close can understand the 24/7 needs of a sick child or a dying parent. Yes, it takes a village. It’s beyond what a family can do alone. In the ‘good old days’ people just died. God took them. Maybe that’s Palin’s health care proposal.

Listening to some politician on the radio ranting about ‘government health care’ I wondered why he chose to work in government and not some pure public service like the insurance industry. We don’t elect insurance. We don’t usually even choose it. We are lucky to get it through our jobs. Insurance exists to make money by rationing health care so that collectively we pay for more than we get. That’s profits.

But we should trust them. Because after someone dies we can sue. And we should be terribly afraid of our government, that we elect, that we can petition in the courts. We are still citizens, not consumers. But some people are sour on this democracy thing because their candidate didn’t win.

And Sarah Palin doesn’t trust the truth. She’d rather try to whip up panic and stampede her followers into running away from the government we elected and into the waiting arms of the corporations. She’ll make out just fine. If other families of Down syndrome children don’t do so well, they can always stop by the church on grocery night.

It is truly frightening that this woman who covered up her real life in the vetting process, who stirred up hate in the campaign, who ditched her supporters in Alaska, who is now telling outrageous lies–this woman could have been our president. If our country gives in to hate and ignorance, instead of rational debate and dedication to the welfare of our citizens, there will be no America left to save. We don’t have time for this.

UPDATE- Reckless speech has consequences. Police are investigating a death threat to Congressman Brad Miller who supports health care reform.

12 thoughts on “Unfit for Leadership

  1. Nancy-I know you’re mesmerized with everything Obama,so I won’t even try to dissuade you in that regard.
    You zero in on Sarah Palin as “the opposition”-I was really disgusted with McCain’s choice because I never thought she could step in as President.
    That said,you are fooling yourself-just refer to Ezekiel Emanuel’s statements on triage by age group.Just who thwe hell elected either of these brothers to anything?
    I don’t give two seconds time to the “birthers”,but I myself have questions about the Emanuel brothers having dual citizenship.Allegedly,Rahm Emanuel renounced Israeli citizenship whebn he was elected to Congress,but I can’t be sure.Is his brother still an Israeli citizen also?We can’t have people with divided loyalties at that level of the government.
    to be evenhanded,I always suspected Richard Perle of putting Israeli interests first during Bush/Cheney.
    The Emanuel brothers are poison in our national leadership.
    This move by Democrats,or at least the Pelosi-Boxer wing,to label every disagreement with the Great Obama as hate speech and sabotage sounds a lot like what goes on in Venezuela-maybe you like how that country is being run,I don’t know-I would hope not.
    We don’t need that here.
    Maybe a public option is a good idea for people priced out of insurance,or laid off workers who lost coverage.It has to be examined carefully to make sure it is efficient and not susceptible to fraud and misuse.
    Illegal aliens cannot be included in routine care coverage.Emergencies are completely different and no one should die because of immigration status.
    No other country on earth covers illegal aliens.
    There is a real need for debate on health care,and when Obama says that certain people need to stop talking,it sounds a lot like Chavez.no other way to see it.
    Sarah Palin is the Jery Springer show on steroids,but she’s very convenient to use in order to discredit those who have serious questions.

  2. Joe, you start making sense in your last few paragraphs. I know that you see the health care system from the inside, and see the best and worst of ‘government health care’.
    I’m not taking back anything I say about Sarah Palin. Crying Nazi at our fellow Americans is hate speech, and ignorant as well. Palin was the Republican vice-presidential candidate, so either McCain picked an incompetent to serve a heartbeat away from the presidency or else she is a true voice of the party.
    Right now we triage by profit potential. That means that young, uninsured people are at risk for lifelong health problems and financial ruin that could have been prevented. People are dying of treatable diseases for lack of access.
    On the other end, people at the end of life will be run through the medical mill if they don’t specify what treatments they don’t want. I’ve seen enough people suffering on feeding tubes to say that death can be made more painful by modern medicine if there is a buck to be made.
    Our Governor decided to cut costs by taking away health insurance to 28 pregnant women. That is triage. That is rationing. That is where we are now.
    And Palin is not the only right winger claiming that the Democrats want to kill our old people.

  3. This is a great post, Nancy, and thank you for your writing and attention to these policy issues. You can speak with a great deal of authority as a health care provider and someone who wants to see reforms move us in the right direction.

  4. People approaching the “golden years”(what a misnomer!!)do have a choice-it’s called a living will or ehalth care directive,or a number of other things-but it allows decisions to be made to allow death with the least suffering-I had to execute a living will directive for my father,who was unconscious and hemorrhaging in the last stage of cancer-I had to direct the doctor to withold bllod and only administer pain relief drugs.It wasn’t the easiest thing I ever had to do,but it would have been harder on my mom,so there was no room for second thoughts.The point is that this was a family decision taken long before the event which eliminated the”medical mill”you so aptly refer to.People have to learn to think of these things in advance.I don’t want a bureaucrat making decisions like this.
    I won’t argue “insurance triage”with you-you’re right about that.Replacing one bad thing with another isn’t good government.
    we are discussing this right here with no name calling or personal dislike.This is what is needed on a larger basis.

    1. “She only looks good in black and white.” I love that sentence!

      Amen to the need for a larger rational discussion, Joe! One thing I find is there are not enough voices of health care professionals. Where is the AMA positioning itself amidst all this? (I guess I could probably goodsearch that one).

      It seems only logical that whatever plan Obama wants to put forth, he needs the support of the workers in healthcare. This includes doctors, nurses, social workers, LPN’s, etc etc.

  5. Kiersten-the AMA is a big tent,and I have doctor friends who don’t belong to it.And my friends have all differing opinions.
    I’m just saying that this is such a complicated and important issue that affects virtually everyone that rushing into things is not sensible.
    The last administration ddin’t make any serious attempt at dealing with it.I don’t know what the prescription drug law accomplished.
    There are lots of people who have no strong feelings about immigration,gun control,abortion,or foreign policy.But all of them are concerned with their health and that of their families.
    Maybe many health care professionals are being quiet because of fear of backlash from either side(really there are more than two sides)or direct repercussions at work.
    Maybe start with a limited public option for those who really need it and see how it works over a few years.maybe the road test is what we need instead of the showroom.

  6. Joe, get a grip.

    Palin and the GOP leadership is deliberately lying about provisions in the bill. Groups funded by h/c corporations are trying to pass themselves off as “grass roots” groups, and are literally driving around the country in buses to whip crowds into a frenzy.

    And get this: one of the lies they’re telling is that Medicare is not a gov’t program! How much brassier can you get?

    And this isn’t the stuff of the RW equivalent of Daily Kos; this is elected officials, who have sworn to work for their consituents. They are spreading this lie.

    Actually, it is the RW equivalent of Daily Kos. It’s called “Fox News,” and it has a viewership that goes far, far beyond the people reading Kos. And please, don’t mention George Soros. There are a dozen wealthy Repubs spending way more money on this than Soros has spent in total. There is no comparison.

    Because you’ve also got Limbaugh, Beck, and the usual crew, abetted and echoed by the GOP leadership–Boehner, Cronyn, & c–are encouraging supporters to go to Dem town halls and disrupt the discussion. IOW, they are deliberately and actively attempting to squelch discussion of the issue by shouting down the Dems trying to present the case for reform.

    I’ve read about tactics like this. This is not how you have a reasonable debate about a very serious issue.

    Got that–the GOP is working to prevent Dem congress members from presenting the pro-reform approach. In the meantime, we have Boehner, McCain, & others now saying that we don’t need to reform the “system” we have.

    Why not? Because insurance companies are making so much money under the current system that they’re deathly afraid of any sort of reform, because almost nothing could be as good as they have it now.

    You want a Death Panel? It’s called an insurance comapany. They sit behind closed doors and decide who gets covered, for what, and for how much. That’s what’s happening, now, Joe. We have death panels. They exist. They wear suits and they fly across the country in jets that your insurance premiums paid for to lie about how bad reform is.

    One of the heads of the anti-reform group is Rick Scott. He was the CEO of a major h/c corp for a dozen years. Over that time, his company systematically bilked the US taxpayer of billions of dollars by filing fraudulent insurance claims. He was forced to resign–taking his hundreds of millions with him–and his company paid $1.7 billion in fines, the largest fines ever recorded.

    He was on CNN recently. His excuse for this? Everyone was doing it.

    And that’s the point. Insurance companies are milking you and me dry and then using our money to fight meaningful reform. You’ve got criminals like Rick Scott leading the charge.

    You want conspiracy? There’s one. You want rationing? It’s here, and right now.

    And you’re blathering about the Emanuel brothers having dual citizenship? What the hell is that all about?

    Aren’t you retired? If you are, then you have a gov’t-run program, and let me tell you, it’s a thousand times better than what most people have. Ever hear the term lifetime maximum? You hit that, you’re done. No more money for you, ever. That’s what insurance companies are doing. Now. Take your money when you’re healthy and deny coverage when you really need it.

    And it’s only retirees and vets that actually have health insurance. The vast majority of us get our insurance through our job, and ain’t none of us have job insurance. I get “laid off,” that’s it. No coverage for me. I get sick, I have to sell my house.

    Think that will ever happen to an exec at an insurance company? Or and other big corp? Somehow, I doubt it.

    No wonder they’re fighting reform so hard. I would too, if someone threatened my gravy train.

  7. My government retirement insurance,which I carry for my wife isn’t that good.It’s insurance as opposed to health care.It is cheap,bcause of the huge employee/retiree. pool.
    I personally am on VA healthcare and pay for nothing because I am 50% or more service connected disabled.I don’t have to apologize to anyone for the care I get.And it is really excellent-you just don’t get to choose a provider-you CAN get reassigned from a provider who you have a problem with.I have never felt any such inclination.
    I will tell you that although Bill Clinton did a lot of things I didn’t care for,his VA Secretary,the late Jesse Brown was the best ever,and Clinton helped veterans’ medical care more than any other President.
    Jesse Brown,like myself and thousands upon thousands of other Vietnam veterans suffered from AO related cancer.he walked the walk and didn’t makeit-unlike some other VA secretaries,although almost all in recent memory have been war veterans.Some forgot where they came from.
    The “get a grip”stuff is exactly not what we need in this conversation.Check what Nancy and I say to each other.No rancor.I don’t plan disrupting any town hall meetings because I don’t plan going to any.
    I am notagainst a public option.I know all about insurance death committees.
    My problem with the Emanuel brothers is nothing I care to apologize for.Rahm Emanuel in particular has thrown a lot of gasoline on fires(figuratively),and i do have concerns about their dual citizen status,although it doesn’t necessarily apply to health care.
    You mentioned Soros,not me.I don’t know if he has a role in any of this.There are other things he gets involved with.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing the big insurance companies take a hit.They don’t care about anyone but their shareholders.
    I’m saying don’t replace s**t with Shinola.Make sure this public option is workable.
    I think I’ve made myself clear on Sarah Palin without prompting from you.
    you are always trying to demand that i explain myself.Why should I?I write quite competently and my ideas are in front of you or anyone else who care to read them.
    I don’t think all the protests are organized by some hidden hand.Some may be.A lot of people are angry with their Congressional reps,senators,etc for their cavalier,lord of the manor attitude onced they’re elected.This isn’t limited to the health care debate.They SHOULD read the bill.They are well paid to do it.Cliff Notes won’t get it.
    My sister in law had lifetime maximum problems due her ex who,among other things, had Munchausen syndrome.
    She since got another job with new insurance.
    I too,feel that acting out and stopping public discussion is counterproductive.Some of the blame can be traced to politicians who are inaccessible to their own constituents most of the time.
    The President telling people to shut up was not very bright either.I heard that from his own mouth,not Glenn Beck.Do you actually watch Glenn Beck?I can’t take more than a minute of him.The guy is either insane or like the late Morton Downey Jr.,a guy who knows how to make money by acting crazy.

  8. Oh-one more thing-my other sister in law and her husbband had a small business in Florida and just couldn’t afford insurance.They raised their kids with no coverage-paying out of pocket and hoping for the best.When the girls were grown a nd selff sufficient,they bought insurance,and none too soon,because her husband had a heart attack and needed a lot of expensive care.So I don’t live in a vacuuum just because I worked for the government.

  9. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so we got a president who walks and talks in his sleep instead. And when he wakes up he will remember dreaming he killed millions of innocent civilians and received the Nobel Peace Prize. Will this be a prelude to politics past where Obama is visited by the ghosts of Joseph Smith, Leo Strauss and Ronald Reagan, or will he simply enter this dream into his bedside journal and go back to sleep? At least Palin is awake. OMG!

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