Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Real "Death Panels"

I am sure most people by now are familiar with the infamous "death panels" that were popularized last year during the debate over the health care reform bill. According to the wise Sarah Palin from her August 7th Facebook note, the government planned on reducing health care costs by refusing to pay for care.
The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Conservatives quickly picked up on the talking point and attacked the Democrats push to reform health care, attacking what they felt would stifle the markets and cause doctors to refuse patients or leave their profession altogether.  Republicans went as far as to do a full platform reversal coming out in defense of Medicare, claiming the Obama administration planned to cut billions from the government program.  Michael Steele, the Republican Party Chairman even issued a Seniors' Health Care Bill Of Rights.

I found this all interesting because on Saturday, President Obama had asked Congress to approve spending to prevent a 21% pay cut to doctors who receive Medicare patients - cuts that are largely supported by Republicans.
Since 2003, Congress has acted to prevent these pay cuts from going into effect. These votes were largely bipartisan, and they succeeded when Democrats ran Congress and when Republicans ran Congress – which was most of the time. 

This year, a majority of Congress is willing to prevent a pay cut of 21% -- a pay cut that would undoubtedly force some doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients altogether. But this time, some Senate Republicans may even block a vote on this issue. After years of voting to defer these cuts, the other party is now willing to walk away from the needs of our doctors and our seniors.  
What ever happened to that Seniors' Bill of Rights the Republicans rolled out last year?

Last year, when the GOP claimed Obama was setting up "death panels" with the health care reform bill, they didn't advertise that they would be the ones manning the booths, but it makes sense now, considering the reform bill closely resembled a Heritage Foundation bill from a while back.  It seems that now conservatives are willing to ration care and put doctors out of business because it is convenient for them, being that elections are quickly approaching.  They failed to stop health care reform, but now that it is passed, they have no problem standing in between patients and doctors to prevent the delivery of adequate care.


  1. For the record, the GOP opposes the "doc fix" for one reason and one reason only -- it is being proposed without money to pay for it per the Democrat "paygo" -- a bill they passed and then violated with the very next bill.

  2. There opposition to the "doc fix" is a self-fulfilling prophecy - they have turned their party into the proverbial "death panels."


Please share your thoughts and experiences in relation to this post. Remember to be respectful in your posting. Comments that that are deemed inappropriate will be deleted.