For the love of God, just go away already!

Sarah Palin. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. Just when I thought I couldn't detest you any more, you offer this on your Facebook page (via TPM):
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.
Let us leave aside the question about whether government health care will refuse to pay for care to a greater degree than for-profit private insurers. (I don't know if Gov. Palin knows this [though considering her astounding level of general ignorance, I would be surprised], but private insurance refuses to pay for care all the bloody time.) Let's just focus on that "death panel" comment.

That, Gov. Palin, is a lie. There is no such thing as a "death panel" in any health care plan put forth by the Democrats, and there never will be. It is a vile, ugly and stomach-turning lie, and serves to remind me exactly why I loathe you so very, very much.

There are legitimate reasons to worry about government-sponsored health care. How much will it cost? Who will make the decisions about what will be covered? How long will people have to wait for specialized care? While I whole-heartedly support government-sponsored health care, I understand why people might oppose it in good faith. But opposing it on the basis of a wholly-fictitious concept such as "death panels" is the very antithesis of good faith.

Lying, in the most inflammatory way possible, about a reform effort to bring health care coverage to those who are suffering without it, is despicable. One might even say it's downright evil.

Update: The answer to Prof. Pollack's rhetorical question is, of course, "no."


  1. Ummm, Dan? I think the "death panel" was in, like, you know, scare quotes for a reason. Chill, dude.

  2. John, please. Anyone with basic reading comprehension skills can tell that Palin means exactly what she is literally saying, scare quotes or no scare quotes. Or perhaps you can explain what she meant by "death panels."

  3. Doctor, I think you have allowed your emotions to cloud your considerable intelligence in this case. If there is anything anyone with basic skills can take from the quote, it is that Ms. Palin does not literally mean the government will establish death panels for healthcare. Really.

    OTOH, the "death panel" framing has been simply brilliant as far as bringing the topic of the government's role in end-of-life decisions to the fore. I'm reading about death panels in news and blogs from left to right. Isn't it odd that the uneducated hick from Wasilla is more effective in getting her point across than the Harvard educated scary smart brainiac occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.?

  4. This "death panel" was proposed by a Republican Representative, so naturally it is the Republicans who want the elderly to die so as to save on taxes. No worries, health care reform will pass and by next year when the sky does not fall it will no longer be an issue. This is what terrifies nitwits like Palin, so she has to ratchet up the rhetoric as far as it will go.


  5. Hi charo! Hey, just a short note; R Senators can be morons, too, just like D Senators. And nobody (apart from hyperpartisans) cares who put the "death panel" provision in. Everyone knows the Ds control Congress (going on 2.5 years now) and the White House (for the whole of the healthcare debate). Nothing is in the bill without approval of the Ds. The Ds can pass any bill they choose, they don't need a single vote from the opposition, so Nancy and Harry and Barack OWN this healthcare bill, lock, stock, and syringe.

    President Tone Deaf is the one who brought up the subject of denying granny a new hip or pacemaker in the name of bending the cost curve, and reasonable, rational people have concluded that, once the Feds control healthcare from cradle to grave, remote, faceless political appointees are the ones who will be deciding what treatment granny gets. And surprise! A lot of people think that is a Really Bad Idea, Worse Than What We Have Today.

    Anyway, that's my take. YMMV. IANAL. TANSTAAFL.

  6. John, I have no need to further justify my response to Frmr. Gov. Palin's egregious statement. Res ipsa loquitur.

  7. Sorry to leave no dead horse unflogged, but there is a part of your original post that might need revision, now that people are going back and looking carefully at Pres. Obama's claims about healthcare reform. While we aren't having literal death panels, it is clear that Pres. Obama suspects an expert panel will emerge from healthcare reform to offer "guidance" (via white-coat authority figures) on end-of-life care in irder to reduce costs. And if the President, scary-smart, super informed leader of the healthcare reform movement, suspects this will result, who am I to differ?

    Mickey Kaus, among others, picks up the narrative.

    "[Pres. Obama]'s talking about a panel of experts making end-of-life recommendations in order to save costs that have an effect at the individual level. And he thought it would be in the bill that emerges... it is also pretty clear that something like the IMAC panel is what he had in mind. Whether or not the IMAC would actually do this [...] Obama thought it would do it..." {emphasis in original}

  8. oh for heavens sake gj, give it a rest. voluntary counseling is a good idea no matter how much you try to twist it into a pretzel of illogic. Why do you distrust Doctors so much anyway? Do you really think any will advocate pulling the plug to save money? What a sad man you are if you think that could ever become the norm. After health care passes you will find the sky will not fall and then Republicans will have to go apeshit about some other thing.


  9. Hi, charo!

    Oddly enough, I agree with you. Voluntary counseling *is* a good idea, and requiring Medicare to foot the bill for it is an improvement (and Sen. Isakson thought so too). But voluntary counseling with a trusted physician is a one-on-one thing, and wouldn't be described as a panel of anything.

    On the gripping hand, having a bunch of politically appointed, remote, impersonal "experts" decide what your treatment options are might look a lot like a "death panel" to the elderly. That's what Mr. Obama, Ms. Palin, and I understand, and I bet most thoughtful people do as well. And yes, I think this IMAC-ish committee will indeed advocate pulling the plug, so to speak, on all those abstract seniors to save money. Pray tell, how else is the government going to drive down the cost curve? Rooting out waste? Please. Look at England if you want to see where we are going; if it costs more than $N for each remaining year of life expectancy, care will be denied.