Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Olbermann's father dies- POLITICO.com

Keith Olbermann's father, who in his waning days played something of an unlikely role in the super-heated health care debate, died Saturday in New York of complications stemming from a surgery last September.

Theodore C. Olbermann, who had worked as an architect and designed most of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlors built in the 1970s, was 80.
On his prime-time MSNBC television show, Keith Olbermann cited his father's health struggles and the medical care he received in urging Congress to overhaul the nation's health care system — a cause the liberal host has championed.
In a blog post after his father's passing, Olbermann praised the care his father received and called him "as much my hero now, as he was when I was 5 years old."
On his show, Olbermann had argued that everyone should have access to the care his father did. And, in an emotional commentary last month, Olbermann revealed he had previously discussed end-of-life care with his father and that his father had recently asked to be killed, a plea Olbermann said he discussed with doctors caring for his father.
He blasted Republican critics of the health overhaul who labeled as "death panels" proposed Medicare-funded counseling in which patients discussed end-of-life issues with their doctors.
"It's a life panel — and damn those who call it otherwise to hell," Olbermann said.
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck on his syndicated radio show accused Olbermann of "using his father to now make a point on death panels," reiterated the debunked death panel claim and asserted "believe me, those death panels that Barack Obama would like to say 'well we're going to have to ration some care here' — your father would be dead by now, and maybe your father would agree with it at this point, that he should have been left to die, but thank God it is still his choice."
On a subsequent show, Olbermann responded that Beck "has no earthly clue what he's talking about" and urged his viewers to have conversations about end-of-life care with their families.
In an e-mail to POLITICO, Olbermann explained "the value of having repeatedly discussed his wishes about care, and cessation of care — our 'life panel' — was of immense value and comfort. We were able to make HIS decision, and in 35 minutes he died, as peacefully and painlessly as he had been falling asleep when I used to read to him."