January 15, 2014

"NYT's Bill Keller thinks he's enlightened for endorsing palliative care. Here's how he's affirming right-wing mania."

The subhead at Salon. The headline is: "How Times columnist Bill Keller aids Sarah Palin’s 'death panel' smear."

It's not a smear if it's true, but Salon's Brian Beutler asserts that "death panels" is "the single most contemptible lie about Obamacare."

What about the famous lie-of-the-year "If you like your plan you can keep your plan"? Must we have a contemptibility face-off between these 2 lies? Is the battle to be the most contemptible lie different from being the least true assertion of fact? Different from being the lie with the most clout in the political process? And if it's a contemptibility contest, who's the judge? Whose mind is feeling this contempt? Brian Beutler's?

More subtly, we need to distinguish the form of expression from the substance. "Death panels" was a hotly emotional way to express concern about something that was real — that there will have to be rationing and denials of expensive treatments to some older/sicker patients. It is contemned because of its power to replace close attention to the facts with instinctive, quick commitment to a political position — opposition to Obamacare.

"If you like your plan you can keep your plan" was a deliberately cool, seemingly unemotional way to assert something that was absolutely not true. It is contemned because it was an outright, knowing falsehood, and it reassured and pacified people who would have been lit on fire with opposition if they'd understood what was coming their way.

What was the single most contemptible lie about Obamacare?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

55 comments:

AustinRoth said...

Hmm.

I think what you were trying to say is that one 'lie' (Obama's 'you can keep your plan') was indeed a lie, and a calculated, purposeful lie to get something that otherwise very possibly would not have happened; vs a 'lie' (Palin's 'death panels') that in fact is not a lie at all, but more a very negative and emotional way of expressing the rationing of healthcare that the ACA in fact does allow for, and require.

Mark O said...

I decry the false choices. There are many, many lies about Obamacare, including the number who have "enrolled."

Paco Wové said...

Is this in some way related to Keller and his wife's weird published meltdown wherein they tsk-tsk'ed the 'indecorous' way some terminal cancer patient chose to tweet her decline?

DavidD said...

But the assertion that there are "death panels" in O-care is not a lie.

hawkeyedjb said...

Death panels is not a lie, nor even a particularly bad idea in my view. As a society, we should be reducing the enormous resources we expend on end-of-life care and 'heroic' measures to extend life. These are resources that can and should be better used in other ways.

hawkeyedjb said...

"You can keep your insurance" is, on the other hand, a lie, pure, simple, calculated and evil.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I would go with the more foundational, if never explicitly stated, lie of the ACA: We're from the government, and we're here to help.

Fen said...

Death Panels is not a lie. They simply call it by another name.

rhhardin said...

I go by whether the guy displays any respect for simple economics.

The populist is a comtemptible liar.

Obama was just being populist.

Pettifogger said...

The term "death panels" may be hyperbole, but it is not a lie. Under Obamacare, there will be panels who will make decisions about what care is appropriate under what circumstances. Some people will be denied care that might have extended their lives.

People who like the plan are no doubt irritated that opponents characterize the panels as "death panels" and would no doubt prefer "usage review panels." Many policy options I prefer are routinely characterized pejoratively by progressives. Are those characterizations lies?

Seeing Red said...

He's either a poor journalist or has poor internet skills. OTOH, it's easy to have poor internet skills when your fingers are in your ears and your la la la'ing.

Death panels was already admitted to being in Obamacare.

MadisonMan said...

Death Panels is a scaremongering way to describe what happens in real life all the time, independent of any Obamacare entanglements.

We had a Family Death Panel when my Mom was dying after a series of strokes, and we denied her care. Sure, it was her wish, expressed multiple times before the strokes, but the Implementation scheme fell upon her children/husband. We could have spent lots of money extending her life. We chose not to.

I'm not sure if Obamacare will prevent a family from bankrupting itself to prolong someone's life. I don't see why it should prevent it. It's (sort of) a free country, after all.

But why should the taxpayer foot the bill for something that is only delaying the inevitable? Sure, there's a line to be drawn somewhere between weeks/months/years of life. It's not clear to me who draws it.

MadisonMan said...

The pertinent question: If Obamacare says no to the treatment, are you proscribed from paying for it yourself? Or, say, flying to Thailand to have it done?

viator said...

"The Keynesian economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said back in February that in order for the collectivist welfare state to run smoothly higher taxes and death panels will be mandatory."

InfoWars

Mark Halperin of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO: Sarah Palin was correct that “Death Panels” are a desired cost-savings mechanism for Obamacare

YouTube

Russell said...

At its worst, "death panels" is hyperbole, but it is not false. Ezekiel Emanuel has given it credence, and many many people on the left have expressed the sentiment that its cheaper (and more humane too, of course) to let people die. This is not new and not even controversial in certain single payer policy wonk circles.

I do think Megan McCardle hit it on the head early on, its not 'death panels' but more 'anti-second hip replacement panels.' Still, its the government making cost decisions over people's lives after promising cradle to grave safety nets, and thus diminish any 'got to save and take care of myself' mindset.

Again, death panels was not a lie or a smear in any meaningful way.

Amexpat said...

"Contemned", never have seen or heard that word before. I was certain that "condemned" was meant until I saw "contemned" again and knew that it couldn't be a typo.

viator said...

More from our friends on the left who pilloried Sarah Palin:

"Canada Has Death Panels
And that’s a good thing."

Slate

"under the laws of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, a group of government-appointed adjudicators could yet overrule the family’s choice. That tribunal, not the family or the doctors, has the ultimate power to pull the plug."

MattL said...

First choice: not a lie.
Second choice: contemptible lie.

I picked other, because more than "You can keep your plan," "You can keep your doctor" is much worse. No none is attached to their health plan the way that many are attached to their doctors. I expect this to get a lot more scrutiny once people get signed up and start needing to see their doctors.

Bob Boyd said...

The contemptible contest is more about who is the perceived liar than what is the nature of the lie.
My guess is Beutler would generally characterize a lie by a person with an R behind his or her name as contemptible and a lie by a person with the name Obama as necessary in the political climate created by persons with R's behind their names.

Chef Mojo said...

The Kellers are scum, but even so, I wouldn't wish on them what I'm going through. Fuck this "going gently" crap. Until they're personally in a situation where their bodies are conspiring to kill them, the really don't have a fucking clue.

When my time comes, I'll know it. In the meantime, I don't need douchebags like the Kellers advocating on imposing their idea of when that time should be on people like me.

This is not an appeal to emotionalism. It's simply a cold, hard fact. I would never dream of lecturing a combat veteran on how he should react to his experience or how he should just "go gently" if he's having trouble coping. In the end, that's what the Kellers are advocating: "Just give up. You won the shit lottery, and now you're just a burden on us shiny, happy people. Just give up, go gently and try not to leave too many icky messes for us to clean up."

Thorley Winston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thorley Winston said...

I have a question for those who think that ObamaCare includes something that could be likened as a “death panel.” When you use or hear that term are you referring to or think it refers to (a) the Independent Payment Advisory Board which has the power (absent Congressional override) to determine what types of services or treatments are covered by Medicare or (b) the proposal for compensating physicians to provide counseling to patients about end-of-life issues or (c) something else and if so what exactly?

Fen said...

Democratic New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Chairman of the New York State Senate Aging Committee:

"Section 1233 of House Resolution 3200 puts our senior citizens on a slippery slope and may diminish respect for the inherent dignity of each of their lives.... It is egregious to consider that any senior citizen ... should be placed in a situation where he or she would feel pressured to save the government money by dying a little sooner than he or she otherwise would, be required to be counseled about the supposed benefits of killing oneself, or be encouraged to sign any end of life directives that they would not otherwise sign."

Mike said...

Of Thorley's false choices I'll pick IPAB. It will not exist simply to "determine what types of services or treatments are covered by Medicare" at all. It will determine how much care will be covered by ACA in every circumstance. And like the stupid prescription system that was implemented last year, IPAB rulings will be cumbersome, infuriating, one-size-fits-all nanny-statism on steroids.

If you're 70 and in good health but need a new knee you better hope that IPAB didn't set the cut-off at 69. When it's a heart or a liver at stake, then what exactly sets IPAB's function apart from a Death Panel?

MayBee said...

Thorley-
Always A.
B was a red herring thrown up to distract from the fact that Palin had a point. You may recall it was soon after she said "death panels" Obama stopped talking about giving old people the blue pill rather than the pacemaker.

Thorley Winston said...

Thank you MayBee, I assumed that “death panel” was intended to refer to the IPAB but was confused when people kept talking about end-of-life counseling which is a separate issue.


tim maguire said...

I think the accusation that "Death Panel" was a lie is the most contemptible lie, although it is in tight competition with the liberal's other favorite lie, "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

Can we just say all liberal statements are contemptible lies and be done with it?

MayBee said...

Madison Man-
Why would the taxpayer be on the hook for an insured person who wants one more possibly life saving measure?

MayBee said...

The NHS can put you on the Liverpool care path without telling you, and then can deny the patient water which of course would kill everyone.

So beware single payer+ death panels.

MayBee said...

Don't we need some people who want every last lifesaving effort so we can learn more about new techniques and procedures?

Fen said...

JustOneMinute has a take on this:

http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2014/01/heroic-idiocy.html

I think these are just trial balloons to get us used to the concept of pushing granny over the cliff.

Looks like someone at JournoList 2.0 forgot to read Salon in on the battle space prep.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Something Else-- Obama promising Stupak that he'd sign an executive order to protect the consciences of religious groups.

Because without that lie, ACA would never have made it out of the house.

MadisonMan said...

Why would the taxpayer be on the hook for an insured person who wants one more possibly life saving measure?

I'm not sure what you're asking.

If the Doctor agrees, and orders the procedure, won't, ultimately, Obamacare and the Taxpayers be paying for it?

Big Mike said...

I voted for "B" but young Ms. Fluke, who pays $46K per year for law school, asserting that she can't afford birth control without it being available free through ObamaCare is a close 2nd place.

Big Mike said...

It's not a smear if it's true.

Of course it is, Professor! In the world of the leftist any inconvenient truths have to be untrue, and if you assert objective reality then you are smearing them.

Q.E.D.

Mike said...

MM the "third party" paying through this system would be the insurer, not Obamacare. In fact the insured may be on the hook, given the exorbitant deductibles I've seen quoted.

MayBee said...

If the Doctor agrees, and orders the procedure, won't, ultimately, Obamacare and the Taxpayers be paying for it?

1/15/14, 11:17 AM


MadMan-
Wouldn't the insurance company be paying for it?

RecChief said...

soylent green is food

RecChief said...

Madison Man said...
Sure, it was her wish, expressed multiple times before the strokes, but the Implementation scheme fell upon her children/husband.

If you don't see the difference between your situation and the IPAB, you have the obamacare you deserve

Alex said...

We already have death panels at hospitals, it's just not enshrined at the federal level. Let's not pretend we can keep 95yo Grandpa alive indefinitely on life support. Sooner or later, you have to shut it down.

Alex said...

Chef Mojo - you sound awfully angry about this topic. Are you terminally ill?

Birkel said...

Alex:
What we have is 'death' at hospitals. There are no panels. if the bills can be paid, you can get services as in other service sectors of the econmy.

And on behalf of Chef Mojo: fuck you, Alex.

Alex said...

Birkel - another one of the angry Althouse crowd.

Anthony said...

Gerald Ford: "If the government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have." Including your life.

Clyde said...

A better question might be, "What single part of ObamaCare is NOT a contemptible lie?"

Ann Althouse said...

"Death panels" cannot be a lie, because it is not a statement. It needs to be used in an assertion of fact before we can begin to judge whether it's a lie.

It's a political propaganda term, like "tyrant" or "oppression." You have to apply it to something, and even then, it's likely only an emotionally expressed opinion.

Ann Althouse said...

Beutler doesn't quote a statement but makes his own statement: "Obamacare — that it includes “death panels."

Here's what Sarah Palin actually wrote (on Facebook):

"[G]overnment 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."

Notice that she put "death panel" in quotes, as if to say, it's an expression I'm using.

What is supposed to be the lie?

Wayworn Wanderer said...

Some serious name calling in this article.

Birches said...

Sure, there's a line to be drawn somewhere between weeks/months/years of life. It's not clear to me who draws it.

There's some sort of insinuation that doctors and families are not doing a good job of finding that line on their own --- that someone else needs to be making the decisions for them.

I've had elderly grandparents pass away and a father with terminal cancer and I don't think anyone was delaying the inevitable with extra expensive procedures when we should have just given up. I think we all know when things are done without the government telling us when it should be done.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's WaPo's Fact Checker giving Palin 4 Pinocchios for Palin's 2011 Facebook post looking back on her 2009 Facebook post. Kessler said the 2009 post "was about a proposal in the emerging bill that would allow Medicare to pay for doctor’s appointments for patients to discuss living wills and other end-of-life issues. Palin’s decision to call this pending provision a 'death panel' ignited a firestorm that resulted in the language being removed from the final legislation." The new post, purporting to stand by the old post, claimed that the old post was about the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Kessler writes that "Palin is seizing on a completely different entity to justify her provocative use of the phrase 'death panel' three years ago. But the IPAB in no way resembles the 'death panel' that she claims would decide whether her parents or her baby with Down Syndrome are worthy of care. Instead, it is a tool—subject to oversight and approval by Congress—to try to rein in the soaring cost of Medicare."

mccullough said...

Palin's comment was a prediction of what will happen down the road as the government controls more of health care costs. She wasn't opining on IPAB or anything else. She said the government will end up rationing care. That is an opinion. Kessler is dense.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Death panels were normalized with Planned Parenthood. The war on poverty, feminist revolution, etc. would have been obvious failures without a population control protocol. Obamacare diversifies and redistributes death panels to more people of all ages, from conception to death.

MayBee said...

Kessler was feeding the lie about what Palin referred to.

Here is her original Facebook post:

Statement on the Current Health Care Debate
August 7, 2009 at 9:26pm
As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we’re saying not just no, but hell no!

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.

Health care by definition involves life and death decisions. Human rights and human dignity must be at the center of any health care discussion.

Rep. Michele Bachmann highlighted the Orwellian thinking of the president’s health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the White House chief of staff, in a floor speech to the House of Representatives. I commend her for being a voice for the most precious members of our society, our children and our seniors.

We must step up and engage in this most crucial debate. Nationalizing our health care system is a point of no return for government interference in the lives of its citizens. If we go down this path, there will be no turning back. Ronald Reagan once wrote, “Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” Let’s stop and think and make our voices heard before it’s too late.

- Sarah Palin

Rep. Bachmann's speech can be viewed here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CHBvKGmevI

MayBee said...

As you can see, she did not reference the counseling provision.