Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AMVETS takes aim at healthcare lie

As if the non-existent "death panels" weren't enough to muddy the healthcare debate, certain "someones" decided to escalate the fear-mongering by claiming President Obama had developed a "death book" for our veterans.

As a daughter of a veteran and the mother of a disabled Air Force veteran, I was heartened this week to see AMVETS step up to set the record straight.

On Tuesday, August 25, American Veteran's Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS, posted a response to those news pundits bashing the VA's end-of-life planning and care manual. Titled VA's "Your Life, Your Choices" a non-issue for veterans, Ryan Gallucci, AMVETS National Media Specialist, magazine contributor and Army veteran, tackles the misinformation head-on:

"Over the weekend, cable news pundits bashed the continued use of VA's end-of-life care planning manual, "Your Life, Your Choices," mislabeling the handbook as "Obama's Death Book for Veterans." AMVETS would like to set the record straight on this handbook, which has been in use with the VA for more than a decade.

"Your Life, Your Choices" is a document designed to help veterans draft a living will to determine how they will be cared for, should they be unable to make decisions for themselves. The document is very similar to documents offered by major health care providers across the U.S., including the sections dealing with end-of-life care. The book was originally issued in 1997. In 2007, the Bush Administration commissioned a panel to review the book. The panel overwhelmingly praised the manual's benefits and decided to continue circulation. The VA has decided to review "Your Life, Your Choices" as a matter of routine, but the handbook remains in publication today and VA officials continue to list it as a viable free resource.

Mr. Gallucci notes where the misinformation started:

"Last week, an op-ed was published in the Wall Street Journal by Jim Towey, founder of the non-profit "Aging With Dignity." Towey's group disagreed with the continued circulation of "Your Life, Your Choices," purporting that President Obama has recommissioned the handbook. This assertion is false."

Gallucci continues:
"Towey's motives in publishing his misleading op-ed may not be entirely benevolent. "Aging With Dignity" has its own guidebook to end-of-life care called "Five Wishes," which is available for sale on Towey's Web site. This mess is the latest act of political grandstanding, which has derailed critical work on veterans' issues."

Additionally, Gallucci points out that:
"...critics took many passages from "Your Life, Your Choices" out of context, leading viewers to believe that the book advocated assisted suicide and "pulling the plug" on aging veterans. Both of these assertions are, again, false."

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Mr. Gallucci's essay also includes a link to the latest version of "Your Life, Your Choices".

hat tip to Mudflatter "Say NO to Palin in Politics" for initially contacting AMVETS about this issue.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

President Obama live strategy meeting

I just got this email from David Plouffe:

President Obama is holding a live strategy meeting on Thursday, August 20, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time for all Organizing for America supporters. I hope you can join us, online or by phone.

The President will update us on the fight to pass real health insurance reform -- what's happening in D.C. and what's happening around the country. He'll lay out our strategy and message going forward and answer questions from supporters like you. And we'll unveil the next actions we'll organize together.

This is a critical time in this President's administration, and in the history of our country. I hope you can join us.

Here are the details:

What: Organizing for America National Health Care Forum

When: Thursday, August 20th, 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time

RSVP and submit a question for the President.

[Clicking the above link also explains an option for a phone-in question.]

You can also submit your questions on Twitter by tweeting at @BarackObama, using the #hc09 hashtag.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Obama & Mudpups in Phoenix

Four mudpups (Gramian, Mother Who Thinks, Mr. Mother, and Claw Washout Palin) were in Phoenix, Arizona, for President Obama's visit today. Here's Gramian's report, with photos:

I was astonished at how many people showed up. The right wingers tried to harass us as we walked to the staging area, but we just laughed at them. Just like in Anchorage at the Assembly hearings, the Blue people were smiling, laughing and networking our brains out and the Red people were "cranky". Poor darlings have no sense of humor at all.

Phoenix police and Maricopa Sheriff's deputies were out in force and very nice. As we left after the March, many of us thanked them for their protection and they seemed startled at that.

"Mother Who Thinks" got a picture of me and my sign so she will post that when she gets home. I guess you could say this was a typical Democratic event. As one man said, "I don't belong to an organized political party! I'm a Democrat!

There was some scary stuff. There was a guy carrying a loaded AK47, followed everywhere by a Deputy. Arizona loves its guns.

We didn't see the President, but we really didn't expect to. Security was very tight and we were okay with that. I'm sure he saw us. We outnumbered the antis and certainly out-chanted them. We were very well behaved and the wingnuts were nasty. One got in my face and said, "Down with Medicare." I got right back in his face and said, "hell no. I just got my Medicare and I earned it!" They were parked on a corner in full sun while we were across the street in an area with lots of shade and places to sit. No wonder they were so grumpy.

Our Blue people who asked about Mudflats got the URL. When they asked about Sarah, I said, "Oh, you mean Quittypants?" Cracked everybody up. I have the feeling we recruited some new mudpuppies.

One sign really freaked me out. It said that Iraq and Afghanistan both have Universal Health Care, paid for by the United States of America. Well, DAYUM!!

All things considered, I don't for a minute regret going. It got too warm for me near the end, but I coped. The contrast in attitude between us happy little socialists and the big bad right wing was amazing. They are NOT happy campers.

I feel good about what we did and feel pretty positive about it all.

Anyone else have a story or photos to share?

What We Must Do

AKM at The Mudflats has a great post "What We Must Do" to insert ourselves proactively into the healthcare debate.

Email, call, write and visit your Representatives and Senators and let them know that the people shouting down discussion at townhalls do not speak for you!

Find contact information for elected officials at

The angry people at the townhalls keep saying they want their country back. Well, I want the country I voted for in November. In the words of Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in the 1976 film Network: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Monday, August 10, 2009


Welcome to "Healthy Look at Healthcare", where the discussion centers on the facts of healthcare reform and the state of healthcare in the USA.
We'll be compiling on-line resources, share information, and develop a variety of positive actions that can be taken to shine a light on the situation.