Archive for August 11th, 2009|Daily archive page

Healthcare Hysterics

Newt Gingrich presents himself more in the mold of an intellectual Conservative then a populist one, so I was slightly surprised to hear he had begun parroting Sarah Palin on death panels:

It gets sillier: Now we have two potential candidates for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, spewing the worst sort of lie about President Obama’s health plan: That it will establish “death panels” to decide who deserves medical care and who deserves euthanasia.

Clearly the GOP has decided this issue is a winner. Older Americans are still more reliable voters than middle-aged and young voters, and Republicans are seeing political value in scaring them with threats of mandatory euthanasia and a Medicare collapse. It was amusing to see Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, no big Medicare proponent, warning hysterically Sunday that the Democrats want “a half-trillion dollars in Medicare cuts.” This from the party that’s also railing about how the Obama plan will add to the deficit, and is opposing every reasonable effort to curtail dangerously out-of-control healthcare costs, whether public or private.

There are two aspects to the “death panel” claim. Firstly that voluntary end of life counseling constitutes a death panel. That’s pure fiction.

The second claim is that cuts in medicare will lead to increased euthanasia. That’s not an entirely an unreasonable concern, but doe anybody believe the Republicans really support higher spending levels for medicare then Democrats? Or that in the long term they’ll continue their new found support for socialized medicine for old people? If Newt Gingrich had his way in the 90s medicare funding would be way lower then anything Obama’s proposing.