In March, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) raised eyebrows when he urged opponents of health care reform to continue lying about the consequences of comparative effectiveness research and electronic medical records. Since then, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee has adopted the rhetoric of the far right, routinely referring to health care reform as a government takeover of health care, disingenuously misrepresenting reform legislation, and even going so far as to endorse and sign a copy of Glenn Beck’s book.
The Wonk Room has compiled a list of Grassley’s most egregious misrepresentations and will continue monitoring and fact checking Grassley’s statements throughout the reform process. Read the full document HERE.
This afternoon, during an appearance on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Grassley remained unapologetic for suggesting that the federal government would “pull the plug on grandma.” Instead, Grassley blamed Democrats for his statements, suggesting that they were “diverting attention” from the health bill:
I’m not going to do anything with a health care bill that puts a government bureaucrat, or any government policy making a determination about whether or not we are going to value life and the end of life any more than at age 30 or 20…all of their proposal with end of life are connected in the bill with ways of saving money and takeover of national health care…the Lewin think tank in Washington says that 120 million people are going to crowd out into that plan.
But Grassley’s rant is entirely false. In trying to defend himself from accusations that he was misrepresenting the end-of-life provisions, Grassley doubled down on his false claim that “government policy” would determine the value of life. He echoed Betsy McCaughey’s assertion that “end of life are connected in the bill with ways of saving money” and completely misrepresented the findings of the Lewin report. (Lewin did not study the House bill, as Grassley implied.)
Given Grassley’s long history of obstructing health care reform, “President Obama and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) should stop courting Grassley’s vote.” As Steve Benen has pointed out, “negotiating with Grassley in good faith is a mistake. Grassley isn’t serious about reform…It’s time to stop trying. Grassley will only let down reform advocates in the end.”
Including sound Republican ideas is far different from succumbing to disingenuous attacks designed to defeat honest negotiations. If Democrats resort to the latter and work to satisfy stone-throwing Republican lawmakers from small states, they will abandon their principles and wholly disappoint the overwhelming majority of Americans. After all, the country would have “never gotten Medicare 40 years ago if everyone had waited for the conservative Republicans to join on board.”
Read some of Grassley’s greatest hits HERE.