Ranking Republican repeats ‘death panel’ comments

The Iowa Independent’s Jason Hancock was trailing Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) as the senator made appearances across the state to talk about health care. Hancock reported yesterday afternoon that, at a rally in Winterset, Iowa, Grassley — the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which is currently negotiating a much-anticipated health care bill — promoted the myth that proposed health care reforms would create government “death panels” that would decide whether the old and infirm would live or die.

“In the House bill, there is counseling for end of life,” Grassley said. “You have every right to fear. You shouldn’t have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma”

Well, he did it again later in the day at a town hall in Panora, Iowa.

“When you couple this with all the other fears that people have, and you have what they do in England, then you get the idea that someone is going to decide grandma’s lived too long,” he said.

Grassley is adamantly opposed to any government involvement in end-of-life planning, even if it is simply to provide money making it possible, because those decisions should instead be made in church.

“I think the best thing to do if you want to get people to think about end of life, number one Jesus Christ is the way to start,” he said. “But after that, in the physical life as opposed to your eternal life, it ought to be done within the family and considered a religious and ethical issue and not something that politicians deal with.”

It’s probably worth noting that Grassley is up for re-election in 2010.

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Matthew DeLong

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