For someone who once generated a national hysteria by claiming socialized medicine would bring about government-run “death panels” that would kill the elderly and children with mental defects, Sarah Palin seems remarkably calm, what with her grandson now facing the very same allegedly tyrannical construct, that is.
Yes, that’s right: Sarah Palin, Alaska’s former governor and a millionaire thanks to sales of her book, has a grandson whose health care is paid for by the federal government, according to newly released court documents.
The revelation was made in court documents filed Feb. 16, relating to the child support battle between Bristol Palin and Levi Jonson, available here [PDF link] courtesy of E! Online.
“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,” Palin wrote on her Facebook page in mid-August. “Such a system is downright evil.”
Her diatribe was actually a twisted interpretation of end of life care, a provision that would have paid for patients’ counseling with doctors and attorneys on what they wish to be done on their behalf after death — but that didn’t stop Republicans the nation over from repeating the claim ad nauseam, seemingly undeterred by its transparent inaccuracy.
So far, that system of “downright evil” has provided comprehensive medical care for her grandson Tripp, paid for with federal dollars from the Indian Health Service.
Arguing that Johnson had not paid health insurance premiums for his son, lawyers for Palin’s daughter wrote that exemptions claimed by Johnson’s attorneys were invalid due to Tripp’s health coverage by the IHS. The claim can be found on page eight of the court documents.
“There are two reasons why this request should be rejected,” the lawyers wrote. “First, Levi has never paid for any health insurance. One cannot seek deduction for costs or support one has never paid. Second, this insurance is unnecessary. Tripp is an enrolled member of Curyung Tribal Council within the Bristol Bay Native Association consortium. Because the majority of Tripp’s health care costs are already covered by IHS and the Alaska Native Medical Center, Mr. Johnston has no need to purchase additional health insurance and his deduction should not be allowed.”
Because Tripp’s grandfather Todd is descendant from the Yup’ik Eskimo, his children and grandchildren are registered with the Curyung Tribal Council, part of the Bristol Bay Native Association, and thus eligible for government-run health insurance through the Indian Health Service. All “lineal descendants” of Native enrollees are eligible for the program.
The health services are provided by law as a requirement of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), passed in 1976. The Indian Health Service is overseen by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Reauthorization of the IHCIA had stalled during President Bush’s terms and the group has lobbied President Obama to work with them on reforming the legislation and ensuring its reauthorization.
“We recognize that there is a national need for health care reform,” The National Indian Health Board wrote in an open letter [PDF link] dated June, 2009. “However, as frequently noted, the United States is the only developed country that does not guarantee health care coverage for all of its citizens. The irony of reforming health care is that it means more to Indian people than fixing a broken system. Compared to what we were promised, health care in Indian Country is an atrocity; funding for health care that does not adequately provide quality health care for our people, substandard health conditions due to government inefficiency, and pitting Tribe against Tribe for construction, maintenance and repair of health facilities, just to name a few.”
While the Tribes’ complaints certainly ring similar to other rational concerns about the possibility of socialized medicine, it is a far, far cry from the nightmare scenario Palin invented to describe Obama’s health reform proposals. The revelation that her own grandson benefits from such a system would seemingly leave one to wonder why Palin, a woman of such wealth and affluence, would not just pay for private insurance instead of entrusting her grandson’s health and well-being to a group she unwittingly called “downright evil.”
A prior version of this story did not specify why Tripp Palin is eligible for tribal health benefits.
Dalai Lama says President Trump has a ‘lack of moral principle’
During an interview with the BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan, the Dalai Lama weighed in on everything from Donald Trump’s presidency to Brexit — and the Tibetan spiritual leader clearly isn’t a fan of Trump’s isolationist views.
“When he became president, he expressed, ‘America first.’ That is wrong,” the Dalai Lama told Vaidyanathan. “America, they should take the global responsibility.”
The Dalai Lama also described the U.S. president as scatterbrained, saying that his “emotions” are a “little bit too complicated.”
Fox News mocks Beto O’Rourke’s debate performance: He looked ‘as miserable as a dog in a thunderstorm’
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) did his best to stand out at the first Democratic debate on Thursday night, breaking into fluent Spanish in his opening segment and competing with fellow Texan Julián Castro for the spotlight.
But the morning crew at Fox News was not impressed by his performance, lambasting him for looking "miserable."
"Neediness can be charming in a candidate to a certain degree," said political analyst Chris Stirewalt. "Especially for Castro, who couldn’t speak Spanish as well as his fellow Texan, Beto O'Rourke."
"O'Rourke, though — no matter what language he was doing, he seemed sad. He seemed unhappy. He seemed uncomfortable to be there," said Stirewalt. "He seemed like he was doing this all through a prism of real social discomfort, and I don't know what happens for him from here. He, of anybody on the stage, needed that night to get back into the second tier to show that he was doing it, and he looked as miserable as a dog in a thunderstorm."
First Democratic debate: Elizabeth Warren persists — but Julián Castro is the star
With two dozen candidates announced and the possibility of ousting Donald Trump in the 2020 elections on voters' brains, the anticipation for the first of many Democratic primary debates, held in Miami on Wednesday night, was at a high pitch. But that can only be matched by the cynicism of our era. It was worth wondering whether, despite all the hype, this debate could even matter?
Good news, for once: The answer is yes.
Because most voters just vote for whoever their party nominates, debates don't matter "once we get to the general," University of Wisconsin political science professor Kenneth Mayer recently told Salon in a video interview.