Here's a new rule of thumb if you ever become a powerful senator: If you want to kill a provision in a bill, lie about it publicly, then tell everybody the measure is dead because it's widely misunderstood.
Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, told a crowd they were right to worry that Medicare reimbursement for end of life counseling by physicians might amount to euthanizing seniors. Today, he announces that the provision has been dropped because it "could be misinterpreted."
Late update: And, if that wasn't bad enough, Grassley's also patting himself on the back for delaying health care reform, which in turn created political space for the town hall disruptions.
Late late update: Here's more from Grassley: "Maybe others can defend a bill like the Pelosi bill that leaves major issues open to interpretation, but I can't," Grassley added.
Another way of putting this is that Grassley's shocked--shocked!--that anybody would write a bill that doesn't explicitly disavow death panels. In fact, all bills must clearly delineate that even their most antiseptic provisions aren't, in fact, secret passageways into death panels.