"In Last-Ditch Effort To Derail Reform, Right Wing Calls Medicare Commission A ‘Death Panel’"
Last Friday, Politifact declared that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s infamous claim that health care reform legislation included a “death panel” for “the sick, the elderly, and the disabled” is the “lie of the year.” Palin’s claim was widely interpreted to be about voluntary end-of-life counseling provisions in a version of the House’s health care bill that were not included in the Senate legislation because of the uproar caused by Palin’s lie.
But as passage of health care reform appears increasingly likely, right-wingers desperate to derail the legislation have christened the proposed Independent Medicare Advisory Board (IMAB) as the new “death panel.” The attack started after Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) complained on the Senate floor on Monday night about rules regarding IMAB. Red State’s Erick Erickson and the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack immediately labeled the provision as “making the death panels permanent.” After Bill Kristol and Rush Limbaugh joined in the fearmongering, Palin finally weighed in on her Facebook page last night:
Last weekend while you were preparing for the holidays with your family, Harry Reid’s Senate was making shady backroom deals to ram through the Democrat health care take-over. The Senate ended debate on this bill without even reading it. That and midnight weekend votes seem to be standard operating procedures in D.C. No one is certain of what’s in the bill, but Senator Jim DeMint spotted one shocking revelation regarding the section in the bill describing the Independent Medicare Advisory Board (now called the Independent Payment Advisory Board), which is a panel of bureaucrats charged with cutting health care costs on the backs of patients – also known as rationing. Apparently Reid and friends have changed the rules of the Senate so that the section of the bill dealing with this board can’t be repealed or amended without a 2/3 supermajority vote. [...]
In other words, Democrats are protecting this rationing “death panel” from future change with a procedural hurdle. You have to ask why they’re so concerned about protecting this particular provision. Could it be because bureaucratic rationing is one important way Democrats want to “bend the cost curve” and keep health care spending down?
Palin claimed that the IMAB provision vindicated her from the “lie of the year” designation, saying that efforts to reduce Medicare spending are “precisely what I meant when I used that metaphor.” But this isn’t true. When Palin defended her “death panel” claim on Facebook in August, she specifically cited “Advance Care Planning Consultation” in the House bill.
Additionally, as McCormack actually acknowledges, the Senate legislation specifically says that IMAB “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums…increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility standards.”