WATCH: This Is Why We Can’t Have An Adult Conversation About Health Care

In 2009, former Republican nominee for vice president Sarah Palin dominated the conversation about health care reform with one of the most potent and viral pieces of demagoguery in recent American history: death panels.

“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,” she said.

Palin’s science fiction-like conjecture of what the still-developing health care law will yield wound up killing a crucial and harmless part of the law: taxpayer-provided end-of-life counseling that would have asked all Medicare recipients to voluntarily set up a living will, which could have saved taxpayers billions while easing suffering for those near death and their families, who are often forced to make unbearable decisions.

Still, the lie persists.

A recent study suggests that even the act of debunking the law did little to blunt the misinformation. “Sometimes, providing accurate information will only propel false beliefs,” wrote The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff.

Since there’s no evidence that what Palin described is in the law, Republicans have just decided that the real “death panel” is the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

IPAB is a 15-member board that cannot cut benefits or increase co-pays. It exists to make recommendations on cuts in payments to doctors only if Medicare’s costs grow too fast. Because the costs of government’s single-payer health care program for seniors are growing at an all-time low, the board won’t even convene until 2015 — at the earliest.

You can see now why it’s so hard to debunk this lie. The falsehood is so much more compelling.

Time magazine’s Mark Halperin did his part to keep the fraud alive during an interview with WorldNetDaily on Monday, when he said death panels are “built into the plan.” In the video above it comes around the eight-minute mark. Halperin corrected himself the next day — but the damage had been done.

Million Vets March Cruz Palin


Screenshot via Senator Ted Cruz’s YouTube channel


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Remembering A Great American: Edwin Fancher, 1923-2023

Norman Mailer, seated, Ed Fancher and Dan Wolf, founders of The Village Voice

If you are lucky in your life, you come to know one or two people who made you who you are other than your parents who gave you the extraordinary gift of life. Edwin Fancher, who it is my sad duty to inform you died last Wednesday in his apartment on Gramercy Park at the age of 100, is one such person in my life. He was one of the three founders of The Village Voice, the Greenwich Village weekly that became known as the nation’s first alternative newspaper. The Voice, and he, were so much more than that.

Keep reading...Show less
How Is That Whole 'Law And Order' Thing Working Out For You, Republicans?

Former Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer

One of the great ironies – and there are more than a few – in the case in Georgia against Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants is the law being used against them: The Georgia RICO, or Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act. The original RICO Act, passed by Congress in 1970, was meant to make it easier for the Department of Justice to go after crimes committed by the Mafia and drug dealers. The first time the Georgia RICO law was used after it was passed in 1980 was in a prosecution of the so-called Dixie Mafia, a group of white criminals in the South who engaged in crimes of moving stolen goods and liquor and drug dealing.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}