Now that Sarah Palin has been unceremoniously jettisoned from her Fox News post, she has deemed it necessary to whip up as much controversy as possible in order to keep from becoming nothing more than a creepy memory and the reason for John McCain’s eternal damnation to Hell. That’s why she ditched her unsuccessful Internet video subscription service hoping more people would watch if they didn’t have to pay.
To that end, Palin has posted a screed on her Facebook page declaring in all caps that “DEATH PANELS STILL NOT DEAD.” As the title suggests, Palin continues to suffer from an acute ignorance of law, facts, and common sense. Her blitheringly dumb resurrection of the Death Panel nonsense begins with the hilariously oblivious assertion that it’s the politicians who don’t get it.
“Their ‘Death Panels’ still won’t die. Last night Obamacare masterminds decided they’ll pay healthcare providers for vulnerable patients’ ‘end-of-life’ plans. Remember that’s the strange, intrusive, unaffordable, and unnecessary scheme that was actually stripped from Obamacare five years ago, once we ‘found out what’s in it.’ So now that part of this socialistic healthcare takeover is back.”
Palin then launches into a self-defense of her faulty grasp of what “end-of-life” plans (aka Advanced Directives) are. And she predictably slams the media for correctly noting that she has been “universally discredited” on this subject. She rants about the non-existent government rationing of healthcare and criticizes the imaginary “faceless bureaucrats” who she says “will measure a person’s worth.” She preaches about the “sanctity of life” in her trademark politi-vangelical style bemoaning that “a bloated bureaucracy and weak-kneed politicians sent millions of Americans into financial distress, unseen in history, with this leftist scheme called Obamacare.” Of course the documented truth is that, since the Affordable Care Act was implemented, more Americans are covered by insurance than ever before, and fewer are facing financial difficulties and bankruptcies due to medical bills.
What launched Palin into this confused orbit was news that Medicare is considering reimbursing doctors for consulting with patients about Advanced Directives. And while Palin calls it an “unnecessary scheme,” it is something virtually every medical professional and patient advocate recommends. The Medicare proposal does not require consultations, nor steers patients toward any specific preference of care. So in effect, what Palin is objecting to is giving people more control over their medical care. And when she fails to make a coherent case against Advanced Directives, she diverts her argument to a completely different and equally benign part of the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is a doctor-run advisory group tasked with identifying the best practices in health care to insure the best medical outcomes and to avoid unnecessary or exploitative procedures.
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None of this is new. Palin has been on a rampage against these useful services for as long as they have been public. And for all of that time she has intensely misunderstood them. A year ago Fox News railed against Medicare’s exploration of this policy, making the same irrational arguments that Palin makes. In short, conservative wingnuts believe that it is a God-given right to be denied healthcare by the faceless bureaucrats at greedy insurance companies. But it is submission to tyranny if the government steps in and makes such care available and affordable. Palin et al prefer the old ways when Americans went bankrupt (or died) because they didn’t have insurance or their coverage was insufficient. And it is obvious that this zombie lie about Death Panels is going to be a cornerstone of conservative politics for the foreseeable future, despite how thoroughly it has been debunked by knowledgeable sources.
Update 7/14/2015: Sean Hannity weighed in on this with his predictably inane commentary saying…
“Remember all the talk about Gov. Palin talking about Death Panels? For those of you who were wondering what ever happened to the Death Panels, you don’t have to wonder much longer. You probably won’t. They’re currently being implemented under “Dying for Dollars,” a strategy where the administration pays doctors to persuade elderly patients to end their lives by discontinuing treatment.”
What a boob. He apparently has forgotten that end-of-life counseling may also result in patients choosing to prolong their lives with every expensive medical procedure that exists. It’s the patient’s choice. That’s the whole point. Hannity and Palin are arguing to prohibit patients from being able to make their choices known. What’s really sad is that they have so many people who blindly believe what they spew.