Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called President Barack Obama's health plan "downright evil" in her first online comments since leaving office, saying in a Facebook posting that he would create a "death panel" that would deny care to the neediest Americans.
"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 yesterday.
"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.
The claim that the Democratic health care bills would encourage euthanasia has been circulating on the Internet for weeks and has been echoed by some Republican leaders. Democrats from Obama on down have dismissed it as a distortion. The nonpartisan group FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania says the claim is false.
The allegation appears to be based on a provision of the House bill that would require Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling sessions, on a voluntary basis, for beneficiaries who want the service. Medicare already covers hospice care and legislation passed by Congress in 1990 requires that patients be asked if they have a living will.
An e-mail sent to Palin's spokeswoman to confirm authorship of the Facebook posting was not immediately returned yesterday.