Yet another respected pundit, Andy McCarthy, adds his support to Sarah Palin’s criticism of Obamacare: Palin Was Right on the “Death Panels” — A Dissent from Today’s NRO Editorial
I don’t see any wisdom in taking a shot at Governor Palin at this moment when, finding themselves unable to defend the plan against her indictment, Democrats have backed down and withdrawn their “end-of-life counseling” boards. Palin did a tremendous service here. Opinion elites didn’t like what the editors imply is the “hysteria” of her “death panels” charge. Many of those same elites didn’t like Ronald Reagan’s jarring “evil empire” rhetoric. But “death panels” caught on with the public just like “evil empire” did because, for all their “heat rather than light” tut-tutting, critics could never quite discredit it. (“BusHitler,” by contrast, did not catch on with the public because it was so easily refuted.)
The editors implicitly concede that Palin is on to something. Indeed, from an Obamaesque perch, they find themselves admonishing both “Sarah Palin’s fans and her critics.” With due respect, there’s a right side and a wrong side on this one. Above the fray is not gonna cut it.
Sure, the editors acknowledge, there’s lots of reason to be worried that we’re speeding down the road toward euthanasia and that Obamacare could make things worse. But it’s somehow “to leap across a logical canyon” to suggest that death panels are imminent or that they are what Obama wants.
On the latter, who cares what Obama personally wants? I don’t see why we should play into the personality cult that the Left is hoping will overcome the deep substantive flaws in the president’s policies. I happen to think that something like death panels is exactly what is desired by Obama — who is an abortion extremist, who supported a form of infanticide when he was an Illinois state legislator, and who has wondered aloud about the value of end-of-life care provided for his own grandmother. But Obama’s personal feelings are beside the point. What matters is what’s in the bill.
In suggesting it’s hyperbole to say death panels are — or were — in the bill, the editors engage in a little hysteria of their own, describing the function of such panels as “deciding whose life has sufficient value to be saved.” But few people worried about death panels think the process will be anything so crude. It will be what Mark Steyn described in his column this weekend: the bureaucrats won’t pull the plug on you; they will gradually restrict your access to various forms of treatment while you wither away prematurely. Maybe if Palin had called them “Dying on the Vine Panels” our opinion elites would have been more understanding — though I doubt it, Palin derangement syndrome having proved itself more infectious than Bush derangement syndrome.
The editors further suggest that Palin could be wrong — not that she is wrong, but she could be. After all, they reason, “it may well be that in a society as litigious as ours, government will err on the side of spending more rather than treating less.”
Really? First of all, there is no more to spend. Second, the editors themselves admit at the very beginning of the editorial that “rationing is inevitable in medicine. Not everything that might be in a patient’s best interest can be done in a world of finite resources.” The whole point of health-care “reform” is to enable something other than the combination of individual liberty and market forces — namely, government bureaucrats — to do the inevitable rationing. Third and finally, as I discuss in my column this morning, the Obamacare proposal has a remedy for “a society as litigious as ours”: it systematically cuts off access to the courts so that the decisions of the executive branch are final. The bill is designed to insure against litigation pressure to spend more rather than treat less.
I think Palin was right to argue her point aggressively. Largely because she did, a horrible provision is now out of this still horrible Obamacare proposal. To the contrary, if the argument had been made the way the editors counsel this morning, “end-of-life counseling” would still be in the bill. We might have impressed the Beltway with the high tone of our discourse and the suppleness of our reasoning, but we’d have lost the public. I respectfully dissent.
I don’t respectfully dissent at all. The elitists at NRO can go chuck themselves. They are what is wrong with politics today. Their elitist nonsense is the prime reason I stopped reading their site over a year ago, after having been a daily reader of The Corner for years. Mark Steyn, Mark Levin, Victor Davis Hanson and Andy McCarthy are pretty much the only pundits making that place worthwhile anymore.
Well then! Sarah Palin’s description of “death panels” is being seen as more and more on the mark afterall. I wrote about this initially in my post “Sorry, Palin-haters, She is RIGHT About Obama’s Deathcare” and then followed that up with examples of pundits supporting her classification of Obama’s “end-of-life care” as “death panels” in “Yes, “Death Panels” is Appropriate to Say“.
Tom Maguire digs further into that April Bloomberg story — and the David Leonhardt NYT interview behind it — and discovers that Obama came a lot closer to talking about “death panels” back in April than I’d thought. Here’s the key passage [emphasis added by Maguire]. It comes as Obama is talking about the hip replacement his grandmother got a few weeks before her death:
[ … ]
THE PRESIDENT: So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right?
I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.
LEONHARDT: So how do you – how do we deal with it?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.
[ … ] He’s talking about a panel of independent experts making end-of-life recommendations in order to save costs that have an effect at an individual level. And he thought it would be in the bill that emerges. … It’s also pretty clear that something like the “IMAC” panel is what he has in mind.
More, via Shannon Love: The Dangers of Decompartmentalized Health Care Spending (via Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit)
“The elderly consume 70% of all health care spending. That means that when it comes to cost control, they will bear the brunt of the burden. If we don’t cut spending on the elderly we can’t reduce cost without simply denying care for everyone else. When it comes down to choice between spending on old people and children, the elderly know full well who we are going to pick.”