Braley rebukes Grassley for “fear” comment

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo, Iowa) is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of three House committees which have passed a health care reform bill.  Late today Braley issued a statement in response to something Senator Chuck Grassley (R-New Hartford, Iowa) said this morning.

Read the news release from Braley's staff below.

Braley Statement Reacting to Grassley Claim on End-of-Life Care in Healthcare Reform Bill

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) released the following statement in reaction to comments made by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley at a town hall in Winterset, Iowa, today regarding provisions on end-of-life care in healthcare reform proposals being considered by Congress:

"I'm shocked that Senator Grassley would reinforce the ridiculous claim that paying doctors to discuss end-of-life care with their patients is somehow 'pulling the plug on grandma.'  This comment is demeaning to seniors who want the choice of consulting with their doctor about important end-of-life healthcare decisions.  Now is the time for a rational discussion of healthcare concerns, not a time to spread fear among seniors," said Braley.

Numerous organizations have debunked as false the claim that the government would make end-of-life decisions on behalf of seniors. Provisions in healthcare reform proposals merely allow Medicare to reimburse healthcare providers for multiple end-of-life care consultations, allowing seniors greater choices and flexibility in their care. 

• Republican Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) stated: “How someone could take an end of life directive or a living will as [euthanasia] is nuts… The problem you got is that there's so much swirling around about health care and people are taking bits and pieces out of this. This was thoroughly debated in the Senate MVP. It's voluntary. Every state in America has an end of life directive or durable power of attorney provision.” [Washington Post, 8/11/09] 

• AARP stated: “This measure would not only help people make the best decisions for themselves, but also better ensure that their wishes are followed… To suggest otherwise is a gross, and even cruel, distortion…” [7/24/09]

• USA Today stated: “…lies appear to be in full sprint as the nation's health care debate goes local… In this case it's a section of a House bill inserted by members of both parties to allow Medicare to pay doctors for optional end-of-life counseling, something that's already covered in a new patient's first Medicare visit… But critics have twisted this into a sinister, cost-saving plot by the government to force seniors to end their lives early… Neutral arbiters have rightly demolished this.” [USA Today, 8/10/09]

• The Associated Press stated: "Nothing in the legislation would carry out such a bleak vision. The provision that has caused the uproar would instead authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care, if the patient wishes.”  [AP, 8/11/09]

• stated: “The claim that the House health care bill pushes suicide is nonsense.” []

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.