During the height of hysteria among the far-right over the recently-passed health care law, former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin outlandishly claimed that the bill authorized the creation of “death panels” that would put disabled Americans to death.
During a recent podcast reported by the conservative Heartland Institute, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) resurrected this smear, tying in the stimulus bill. Broun claimed that the stimulus bill set up “comparative effectiveness research” that would determine the cost of spending health care dollars on people of different ages. Broun then hypothesized that “Obamacare” would deny care to people who are too old, or Americans who are disabled. He concluded that the combination of the two laws will “kill people by denying care“:
BROUN: We see so many unintended consequences, or intended consequences, that are gonna force people off medicare advantage. Obamacare if it stays in as the law of the land is going to hurt the elderly more than anyone else […] In the stimulus bill Nancy Pelosi set up a panel or something called comparativeness effectiveness research, what they’re doing there with that is they’re not comparing effectiveness as well as I and all the physicians will do, they’re comparing effectiveness of spending a dollar on one person versus another, which means the elderly are gonna be denied the care to keep them living and keep their health in good shape so they can have a useful, fruitful productive life. So see marked rationing of care for the elderly and those who have disabilites and those who have illnesses that will be terminal over a fairly short period of time, that may be who knows, ten years, those people are gonna be denied coverage of care of their health problems under Obamacare. […] It’s gonna kill people by denying care.
Listen to it:
Given that Broun is a medical doctor by trade, he should know better than to try to scare voters with falsehoods about the stimulus’s health care provisions and the recently passed health care law. The comparative effectiveness research included within the stimulus bill is designed to discover how to best spend health care dollars to provide the most care to people for the best price, not to deny people health care. There are, of course, no “death panels” or any other provisions within the health care law to put the elderly or disabled to death.
The only things resembling death panels that do exist are the rescission and denial practices followed by private health insurers that the bill is slowly outlawing. A congressional investigation recently found that “the nation’s four largest for-profit health insurers denied coverage to more than 651,000 people over a three-year period, citing pre-existing conditions” — one out of every seven Americans who applied for insurance was denied. If anyone supports health care being denied to Americans, it is Broun, who has a long history of fearmongering about efforts to reform the American health care system.