[Update: Congressman Blumenauer just tweeted: "Going to play Hardball with Chris Matthews in about an hour on MSNBC (2:00pm Pacific/5:00pm Eastern)."]
The Republicans have decided that the best way to derail universal health care reform is to deliberately misinterpret an amendment produced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer.
Blumenauer's amendment would compensate doctors for having a conversation with their Medicare patients about end-of-life care. Without mandating anything, it encourages doctors to raise the issue - and talk to their patients about what level of care they want.
This is a common-sense proposal, and will comfort Americans who face death with the fear of the unknown. A few answers, and a little planning, goes a long way.
But, led by Rush Limbaugh, the Republicans in Congress have twisted this idea into the notion that Democrats want to kill off old people. No, seriously.
Blumenauer blogged on Huffington Post about his two-hour stint in the big chair in the U.S. House - in which he listened to dozens of one-minute speeches by Republicans railing against health care reform.
Rep. Broun from Georgia demanded to see the bill, "Show us the bill", "don't hide the bill," at exactly the same time that his colleagues were waving the bill and misreading what was in it. Rep. Buck McKeon admonished people to read the bill and then specifically cited Section 1233. Actually, I know a little bit about this section because it's a bill that I wrote which was incorporated into the overall legislation. His statement was a complete fabrication (check out my myth vs. fact sheet). At least he didn't get to the point that Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina did when she claimed that the Republican approach would be more pro-life because it, "would not put seniors in the position of being put to death by their government!" (emphasis added).
I think it was Vice President Dan Quayle who once said that a mind was a terrible thing to lose. This was certainly two hours that gave me a sense of just how confused and disjointed the Republicans are. I hope that Americans will not have to see what a Party looks like when it comes unhinged and damages this opportunity for improving health care for the nation.
And it's not just the kooky backbenchers. The House Minority Leader, Rep. John Boehner, has even attacked this provision as "government-encouraged euthanasia". Media Matters blows the whistle here.
Here's Congressman Blumenauer speaking on the House floor on the issue: