Hey! Where are the death panels?


Ed Kilgore NAILS IT:

It was a snarky throwaway comment from Wonkblog’s Evan Soltas at the beginning of a long post on the first full day of Obamacare implementation, but an important point nonetheless: “[F]irst day of Obamacare, zero death panels so far.”

We sometimes forget that the popularity of the Affordable Care Act has been affected not just by the sort of breathless minute-by-minute assessment of the law’s implementation we’ve been treated to since October, and the complaints of this or that interest group focused on the injustices allegedly meted out to this or that sub-population, but also by stuff just made up out of thin air by demagogues.

It’s long been understood that once ACA fully took effect, it would finally benefit from a significant number of beneficiaries—above all people locked out of health insurance because of preexisting conditions—with something tangible to lose from its repeal or evisceration. But it’s equally true that the non-materialization of some of the more lurid accusations about Obamacare will (or should) slowly sow some doubts about the law’s opponents.



  1. The issues that the mindless wing of the Republican Party create are deliberate and redundant until they become a myth. And, to paraphrase JF Kennedy ‘belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion with out the discomfort of thought’. The discomfort of thought unfortunately belongs to those of us who actually think about what we hear, see, read and talk about. And for that, you can use the myth about ‘elites’ and I wear it proud.

  2. Shawn Robinson

    The people who talk about the death panels and the Obama being both a Muslim and someone wishes to lead us to secular socialism are the same people who want us to believe that global warming isn’t real, that tax cuts for rich people benefit everyone and that the real problem in this country is poor people looking for handouts. They also claim America is all about them and their supposed values and that it needs to be “reclaimed” or “restored.” Look at a couple Newt Gingrich’s book titles and see the mania believed by a large portion of this country. “To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine” and “To Renew America” are actually claims — America needs to be renewed (from Bill Clinton) or saved from Obama.
    The death panels and the terrorists are the recent boogeymen from which the Republicans are supposed to save us if we give them another tax cut.

  3. Neftali

    OMG. I swear these liberals have the memory span of the common house fly. 6 months ago there was a growing consensus that Sarah Palin’s death panels accusation is correct. For those of you still too stupid to figure it out, Palin is referring to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which last I heard was still going into affect. Not sure what rock Kilgore has been hiding under, but he needs to get with the times.

    Former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean explains:

    “The IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them,” Dean wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

    “Getting rid of the IPAB is something Democrats and Republicans ought to agree on.”

    But the former Vermont governor is not the only Democrat looking to kill the panel.

    A wave of vulnerable Democrats over the past three months has signed on to bills repealing the board’s powers, including Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Reps. Ron Barber (Ariz.), Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Elizabeth Esty (Conn.).


  4. While the term “death panel” is political hyperbole, as Neftali points out the IPAB still exists and will cause individuals to die by denying coverage.

    We are moving towards a system of complete and total evidence based medicine in this country. In fact, we are moving toward a single payer system where a group like the IPAB will have total control over which procedures and medications get approved.

    This approval will presumably be apolitical and is supposed to be based on what is scientifically proven to be beneficial to the herd. Individuals will get screwed, either because developing treatments that may have been beneficial to them individually are not yet approved or because they have been approved but only for certain populations that are most likely to benefit, therefore leaving some individuals out.

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