Grassley clarifies 'death panel' position

Chuck Grassley is attempting to clarify his recent remarks that healthcare reform might lead to "pull[ing] the plug on grandma."

Reacting to President Obama's comments that the same Republicans who are complaining about the end-of-life provisions in the current House bill had voted for a similar proposal in a 2003 Medicare bill, Grassley said the House bill inappropriately ties of end-of-life decisions to cost control concerns.

"The issue is whether end-of-life provisions should be part of legislation that's about controlling health care spending, and which also creates a government-run health care program, as the Pelosi bill does," Grassley sad in a statement. "Doing so escalates concerns about the rationing of health care, since government-run plans in other countries ration to control spending."

Read Grassley's full statement below:
"I've said for a long time and repeated last week that we all ought to consider how we want to be treated if we are struck by an incapacitating illness, and that advanced care planning is a good thing to do. As far as legislation goes, it's not the case that provisions in the Pelosi health care reform bill this year are just like provisions Congress passed in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. I've never called the Pelosi provisions a 'death panel.' The issue is whether end-of-life provisions should be part of legislation that's about controlling health care spending, and which also creates a government-run health care program, as the Pelosi bill does. Doing so escalates concerns about the rationing of health care, since government-run plans in other countries ration to control spending. Putting end-of-life consultations alongside cost containment and government-run health care causes legitimate concern. This context and the details of this year's proposal are different than the 2003 legislation, which covers advice from specialized physicians outside of any larger effort to control spending on health care. It's not fair to Americans who are asking questions to gloss over those facts and, in fact, end-of-life provisions haven't been part of ongoing Senate Finance Committee discussions as a result of those realities and the possibility of unintended consequences. On this subject and others, it's important that the debate is fair-minded and based on an accurate representation of the issues involved."