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Ear to the Ground

‘Death Panel’ Déjà Vu

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Posted on Aug 14, 2009
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AP

A woman opposing health care reform demonstrates her displeasure while listening to panelists during a town hall meeting earlier this week in Alhambra, Calif.

Public memory often has a short shelf life, and it doesn’t preclude the potential for rapid recycling, according to The New York Times’ take on the current “death panel” controversy, considering that a prototypical version of this particular argument made the rounds during the (Internet-enabled) Clinton era. —KA

The New York Times:

But the rumor — which has come up at Congressional town-hall-style meetings this week in spite of an avalanche of reports laying out why it was false — was not born of anonymous e-mailers, partisan bloggers or stealthy cyberconspiracy theorists.

Rather, it has a far more mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets that were central in defeating President Bill Clinton’s health care proposals 16 years ago, including the editorial board of The Washington Times, the American Spectator magazine and Betsy McCaughey, whose 1994 health care critique made her a star of the conservative movement (and ultimately, New York’s lieutenant governor).

There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure. But over the course of the past few months, early, stated fears from anti-abortion conservatives that Mr. Obama would pursue a pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia agenda, combined with twisted accounts of actual legislative proposals that would provide financing for optional consultations with doctors about hospice care and other “end of life” services, fed the rumor to the point where it overcame the debate.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, August 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

anaman51,

anaman51 Said: “It might be easier to see through the liars if the mainstream media didn’t spend so much effort on repeating the lies. How stupid do they think we are? They keep at it, don’t they? The “Death Panel” furor is proof they can do it whenever they please.”

MarthaA Answer:  Exactly why ORGANIZED SOCIOPATHIC POLITICAL SOPHIST SUBJECTIVE PROPAGANDA and fear tactics should be criminalized in legislation.

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anaman51's avatar

By anaman51, August 15, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

The Republican Lie Machine never goes out of business. It’s always hard at work thinking up new outrages with which to befuddle the public. After all the exposure (The Swift Boat Liars) they’ve had during the last few elections, I’m honestly surprised that more Americans aren’t aware of them, but considering I had to downgrade my estimate of the average intelligence of the American voter after the eight-year Bush debacle, it may be time to do it again. It might be easier to see through the liars if the mainstream media didn’t spend so much effort on repeating the lies. How stupid do they think we are? They keep at it, don’t they? The “Death Panel” furor is proof they can do it whenever they please.

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By tropicgirl, August 15, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The more that comes to light about Obamas “ideas” of health “insurance reform” the crazier it sounds.

He makes a big deal out of the saying “we can’t have a single payer because that would be so incredibly different, and such a massive change, that it would disrupt everything…” (paraphrase).

But in reality, what he has proposed (from what we can decipher from the vagueness and secrecy) HE IS FUNNELING MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF TAX DOLLARS INTO THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY WITH A COMPLICATED MESS OF INCENTIVES, PAYOFFS, RIDICULOUS RULES, MANDATES, TAX INCREASES…. This is not health care reform. Just like he did with the banks and certain corporations of his choice. This is another complicated bailout, this time of insurance and pharma with tax dollars.

In contrast, WE HAVE MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AND THE V.A., THAT WORK. They are already set up and DO NOT CONSTITUTE A RIDICULOUS BAILOUT/INFUSION OF TAX DOLLARS INTO PRIVATE INDUSTRY. Obama continues to lie about this. It is NOT a change, IT IS EXPANSION OF THE SAME, THAT WORKS.

Tax dollars into private corporations again? Trillions? To reform them? Give me a break. The whole world must be looking at us with their mouths open. Reform them with legislation, NOT TAX DOLLARS.

This is just another insurance scam with tax dollars and mandates. It is already a complete mess and will get messier and more confusing.

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By bogi666, August 15, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

The Veterans Administration provides counseling and forms for living wills.

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By tropicgirl, August 15, 2009 at 6:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So you don’t think that the fact that the care-reviewers, or whatever you want to call the end of life counselors will not try to save money by limiting options?

Really? That is stunning.

Especially since that is already what is being done by insurance companies, WHO WILL BE RUNNING THE OBAMA PLAN.

I really wish Obama would insert a little honesty here. Its pathetic.

The more that comes to light about Obamas “ideas” of health “insurance reform” the bat-crap crazier it sounds.

He makes a big deal out of the saying we cant have a single payer because that would be so incredibly different, and such a massive change, that it would disrupt everything (paraphrase). And besides, its losing money because every president, including him, ARE PREPARED TO STEAL MONEY OUT OF THE MEDICARE TRUST FUND any time they want. Obama will take about 600 billion or so. Reagan would be jealous.

But in reality, what he has proposed (from what we can decipher from the vagueness and secrecy) IS TO FUNNEL MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF TAX DOLLARS (trillions?) INTO THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY WITH A COMPLICATED MESS OF INCENTIVES, PAYOFFS, RIDICULOUS RULES, MANDATES, TAX INCREASES. This is not health care reform.

Just like he did with the banks, and certain corporations of his choice, this is another complicated bailout, this time of insurance and pharma, with tax dollars.

In contrast, WE HAVE MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AND THE V.A., SYSTEMS THAT WORK. They are ALREADY set up and DO NOT CONSTITUTE A RIDICULOUS BAILOUT/INFUSION OF TAX DOLLARS INTO PRIVATE INDUSTRY. Obama continues TO LIE ABOUT THIS. It is NOT a change, IT IS EXPANSION OF THE SAME. It works. It works. It works.

Tax dollars into private corporations again? Trillions? To reform them? Give me a break. The whole world must be looking at us with their mouths open. Reform them with LEGISLATION, NOT TAX DOLLARS. Obama is not honest here. His intention is NOT to reform, but to take money away from Medicare and give it to private insurance…

This is just another INSURANCE SCAM with tax dollars and mandates. It is already a complete mess and will get messier and more confusing. Obama is just an insurance company-lovin’ guy. Face it, he’s a corporate bailout-lovin’ guy. He’s a free-for-all trade-lovin’ guy. He’s a put-the-crooks-in-charge lovin’ guy.

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, August 15, 2009 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

Naz

Are you sure you’re Medicare will be run by the government? There seems to be a move to privatize Medicare. Let me give you a personal example, for what it’s worth.

My Father retired at 62.5 after working for the State of NJ for 25 years. Part of his retirement benefit is health care for life. Meaning, he gets to keep the private health insurance he had while he was working. When he turned 65, Medicare became his primary insurance, and his private insurance picks up whatever Medicare doesn’t cover. That’s the law. He had to start paying the $100/month for Part B coverage, even though he has private insurance for life.

As of Jan 01, 2009, his Medicare coverage was transferred to his private insurance provider, Aetna. Meaning, Aetna now handles the management and implementation of his Medicare, not the government. On the surface, it seems reasonable to have one company handle the management of all of his health care needs, right? But I doubt Aetna is proving this service to the government for nothing. I’m sure there’s a big fat subsidy in there. So, who decides what the amount of that subsidy will be? Well, Aetna negotiates with the government. This is not socialized health care, it is corporatized health care. So, be careful what you wish for, and read the fine print.

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By Naz, August 14, 2009 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Corporations, by law, are required to make profits for their investors. When you put a corporation in charge of peoples’ health care and they are doing their best to make as much profit as possible, who’s gonna suffer? People with health problems, that’s who. Is there anyone out there too stupid to grasp this fact? They deny health care procedures and put you on drugs and rake in the millions. How do you think that they can afford $1.4 million per day to defeat any change in the status quo? And let me tell you, folks, we need a change because this set up for health care in the U.S. sucks. I’m sixty-four and a half and I can’t wait to become eligible for Medicare. Know why? Because it is run by the GOVERNMENT and provides better than ANY corporate run health insurance scam. Ask your politician. I’m also receiving my Social Security and lovin’ it. Did you hear that…SOCIAL SECURITY. It’s been helping to take care of U.S. citizens for decades and we haven’t turned into Russia, Germany or any other stupid argument founded upon fear that you may want to proffer. Wise up.

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