By Ian Swanson - 08/10/09 01:26 PM EDT
House GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio) ripped his Democratic counterparts Monday for labeling those disrupting lawmaker town halls as “un-American.”
Boehner said each public forum should give every participant the chance to express his or her views on healthcare reform, and “to label Americans who are expressing vocal opposition to the Democrats’ plan ‘un-American’ is outrageous and reprehensible.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Monday penned an op-ed in USA Today that criticized those who have disrupted town halls and prevented lawmakers from speaking with their constituents as “un-American.”
The White House and Pelosi also swung back Monday against former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) claim that healthcare legislation would enforce euthanasia.
A new website launched by President Barack Obama’s administration explicitly takes on the “malicious myth” that reform would “encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors,” while Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office lambasted Palin over the issue in a release to reporters.
In the administration video, Domestic Policy Council President Melody Barnes describes reports that the healthcare bill would force euthanasia on people as one of the wildest rumors to circulate.
Barnes describes the rumor as “pretty hard to believe,” but notes that it is one that has been pushed forward by Republicans. She then shows video of a speech by GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.) on the House floor in which the congresswoman states that the Democratic healthcare bill would “put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.”
The Democratic bill would provide Medicare coverage for end-of-life consultation, Barnes notes. But there’s nothing in the bill that would force euthanasia on anyone.
“We’ve seen these antics too many times before,” said Barnes, who asked opponents should take on the bill on its merits.
While Barnes does not mention Palin, a fact sheet released Monday by Pelosi’s office criticized last year’s GOP vice presidential candidate for spreading myths about healthcare legislation. The fact sheet says comments by Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) are intended to scare seniors “in a cynical effort to stop the national debate about health insurance reform.”
Palin over the weekend posted a message on her Facebook page that said the Obama healthcare reform legislation would create a “death panel” of bureaucrats who could decide whether senior citizens or even Palin’s son, who has Down syndrome, were worthy of healthcare.
Democrats as well as independent observers have labeled Palin’s claim as false.
Gingrich criticized the healthcare legislation for turning power over to the government at a time when there are people who believe in establishing selective standards for euthanasia.
The Barnes video is a part of a new website launched by the Obama administration. The website, dubbed the “health insurance reform reality check,” leads off with six videos of different administration officials debunking claims about healthcare reform legislation backed by the president.