By now, most of us have heard Sarah Palin's "death panel" comment on her Facebook page.
But what we may not know is that, during her tenure as governor, an important program for in-home elder care became an actual "death panel" for over 250 vulnerable Alaskans.
On August 7, 2009, on her Facebook page, Palin wrote,
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of 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.
But as the Anchorage Daily News reported this last July, the situation in the state's Medicare- and Medicaid-funded in-home elder care program became so bad that the federal government had to step in and force Alaska to make necessary improvements.
In one 2 1/2 year stretch, 227 adults already getting services died while waiting for a nurse to reassess their needs. Another 27 died waiting for their initial assessment, to see if they qualified for help.
The feds had been tipped off to the systemic problems by doctors and other health care providers, who found the state unresponsive when confronted with their incompetence. No other state faced comparable problems.
UPDATE: Some have questioned whether the troubling two-and-a-half years during which the 254 neglected elderly people died coincided with Palin's tenure as governor. According to the actual federal report (also see the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Focused Review of Senior and Disabilities Services Medicaid waiver and Personal Care Assistance programs webpage here), "The review covered the years 2006 through April of 2009." Since Palin was elected Governor of Alaska in November 2006 and resigned on July 26, 2009 - yes, she was in office.