U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday told an Anchorage crowd that critics of health care reform, the summer's hottest political topic, aren't helping the debate by throwing out highly charged assertions not based in fact.
"It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there's these end-of-life provisions, these death panels," Murkowski, a Republican, said. "Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn't (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill."
Murkowski's analysis of the health-care reform measures was delivered to a Commonwealth North crowd of about 130 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center. The nonpartisan group focuses on public policy issues.
Former Gov. Sarah Palin stirred up controversy last week by suggesting on her Facebook page that people like her parents and Down syndrome son might have to appear before "Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
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Experts who have reviewed the various pieces of legislation, which run for hundreds of pages, say there's no such provision.
Murkowski said it's essential the nation's health care system be reformed to improve access to care, boost existing cash-strapped programs such as veterans' health care and control escalating costs.
Still, she said, Congress should slow down and not rush into bad legislation. And critics shouldn't inflame the debate with lies, she said.
"I'll be honest with you," Murkowski said. "There are things that are in this bill that are bad enough that we don't need to be making things up."
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