Sarah Palin Responds To "Death Panel" Criticism...With Footnotes!

In an essay posted last night to her Facebook page, ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin and her research staff responded last night to criticism from -- well, she says President Obama, but it's actually criticism from sensible circles on the right and the left -- that she misstated the facts when she wrote last Friday about "death panels" being given the power to decide whether her son Trig's life was valuable. The essay doesn't seem to be in Palin's voice; it is more dispassionate and analytical than anything she has previously written, much less said, in recent memory.  It includes 11 footnotes, linking to bill texts, government reports, articles and supportive commentary.

Turns out that Palin's argument IS about the advance directive provision of HR 1233. "With all due respect, it's misleading for the President to describe this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context."

Later in the essay, she cites the writings of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a communitarian cancer specialist who now works at the Office of Management and Budget, as providing the philosophical grounding for the Democratic Party's health care plans.

Palin's opinion of the provision -- and of Emanuel's influence -- amounts to an argument that doctors ought to be careful and compassionate when they brief patients about end-of-life care.  It does not justify the term "death panels," as the facts themselves don't justify the use of the term.

Palin's essay does not, in fact, mention, "death panels" this time.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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