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August 21, 2009


Any thoughts on Betsy McCaughey's appearance on The Daily Show last night?

Brendan states, "[E]ven more extreme sources like Fox News, Glenn Beck, and Dick Morris have been forced to concede that there is no explicit 'death panel' provision in the legislation (though they argue that it may create rationing that amounts to 'de facto death panels')."

I would have thought that Brendan would by now be ready to acknowledge that the legislation may create rationing that amounts to de facto death panels and that this is a legitimate concern worthy of a difficult democratic conversation. His apparent unwillingness to do so calls into question the efficacy of my repeatedly naming and shaming him. (Maybe he's been spending too much time watching more extreme sources like MSNBC.)

Betsy on The Daily Show. Wow, THAT was weird. Jon tried to sum it up, "I like you, but...I don't understand how your brain works."
She supports advance directives, but then says that they shouldn't be followed, when the time comes? Kind of the point, isn't it? And, then she paints a picture of a patient who, at the end of life, is conscious and requesting life-sustaining measures, which are denied by the physician who wants to maintain his Medicare quality rating. Really?? So, the doctor will say, "Sorry! You signed the paper, so you have to go now."
I'll give her credit for appearing though.

Perhaps this is a quibble, but Brendan was slightly off as regards Morris and Beck. He says they argued that Health Reform may create rationing. They actually said it would create rationing. They both argued this point strongly.

I think the subtle backtracking will make little difference. The term "Death Panel" successfully helped to focus people on the idea that medical care will not be unlimited (i.e., rationing) and care for seniors will be reduced. Ending the term "Death Panel" won't end that perception, especially since it's correct IMHO.

Per David's point, I've updated the language above from "may create rationing" to "will create rationing."


You forgot the NBC News poll:

Poll: Nearly Half Of Americans Believe “Death Panel” Falsehood

That's curtains on Obamacare baby. Almost half the country believe that Obama is going to kill their grandmother according to the NBC News poll and according to Pew, half don't know or believe Obama will do that.

Just admit it Brendan, we've got you beat on this issue. Go ahead and cry about it.

By the way, is Research 2K/Daily Kos trying to be the joke of all pollsters? Including non-voters (I didn't know what felons thought mattered?) as part of its national polling? Why doesn't it have the stones to poll Obama's approval/disapproval, rather than his favorables/unfavorables (while including 17% of non-voters as part of its sample).

Pew and NBC News pretty much show Kos to be an outlier. Enough people believe in death panels or cannot say that death panels was a false charge to put Obamacare on its own death panel.

I'll let you keep on crying now. If you wanted real reform Brendan, you'd be arguing for tort reform as well. There's no healthcare reform without tort reform. Grab a tissue.

Oh, but if you have tort reform doctors and insurers are going to reduce the quality of our care because they no longer have the same level of liability.

Then the insurers will mandate rationing care. Critical tests will not be ordered and follow-up exams will not occur and doctors will spend less time with each patient.

No, I like the Conservative ideal - unlimited health care for all.

Maybe you were half-joking, Howard, when you wrote, "Oh, but if you have tort reform doctors and insurers are going to reduce the quality of our care because they no longer have the same level of liability." Nevertheless, I will respond that the idea that liabilty suits promote quality is mostly a canard promoted by plaintiffs' attorneys. Medical liability suits do promote lots of unnecessary medical tests.

By and large, doctors give high quality medical care because they care about their patients, because they're professionals, because they take pride in their work, because they want to maintain a good reputation, etc. The same is true for most of us. E.g., when Brendan Nyhan puts effort into teaching a class well, it's not because he's worried that his students will sue him.

BTW if tort liability suits lead to better medical care, then medical malpractice insurance should be prohibited. After all, insurance allows the negligent doctor to avoid paying for his/her negligence. In fact, all liability insurance should be banned. This logic is not advanced by plaintiffs' attorneys, since ending liability insurance would reduce their income.

Just admit it Brendan, we've got you beat on this issue. Go ahead and cry about it.

Brendan has spent the past years over and over in an attempt to call out the falsities and half truths that linger in the political field that overwhelmingly affect our political system and choices our leaders make. These falsities and half truths are spinned to the public that barely takes the time to delve into important issues and will only spend as little time possible listening to sound bites.

This amoral method of being conscious of the falsehoods being spread to a population that spends minutes here and there on these subjects and manipulate the American peoples thinking is unbearable to me. TruthMeter you gloat there with your seemingly ironic name and say that you win and for Brendan to cry. The fact that you are proud to sway peoples thinking in this manner is exactly what Brendan spoke against going back to Spinsanity. This method to gain political wins by this crappy means poisons our democratic system. When anyone spreads these half truths or lies, whether it be Obama or republican talking point representatives, say something contradictory to standing facts need to be called out and shown to the public.

I detest this method used on both sides of the political spectrum and might be just as upset at these outcomes as Brendan probably is. You're being happy to win not by going blow for blow in logical political debates but by intentional spewing of believable falsehoods against your opponents is shameful.

Brendan I have followed you for years and don't always agree with you but I love what you do here and what you did at SpinSanity. Keep fighting like you have to highlight the bogus crap that flows from and within our national political debates.

ps:Oh Jinchi where have you gone... We could use your help during this health care debate.

Nalakilla, like you I appreciate Brendan's efforts to highlight spin and bogusity. That's a public service

Unfortunately, on the health care debate it's a certainty that spin will succeed. That's because neither side presented an honest debate. Palin used the mythical "Death Panels". Obama tried to get a bill approved without giving the public and Congress time to read it. He misled the public about the cost impact of the bill and whether abortion would be covered by public funds. He may be misleading about whether illegal aliens will be covered, although that debate is so opaque, I can't tell whether they'd be covered or not. Leading Dems made ad hominem attacks, calling Health Reform opponents "Un-American" and worse.

I suppose that's the nature of political debate. We can hope that the spin on both sides will cancel out so that a sound decision may be reached.

David I hope you don't think me as naive to not know the nature of national political debate. I was just irritated at a comment I saw on one of my favorite sites. I agree that Obama did break some promises http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/23/campbell.brown.transparency/index.html http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/promise/234/allow-five-days-of-public-comment-before-signing-b/
but from seeing your posts in the past I think you are more inclined to look the other way when Republicans pull this crap and tend to focus on those follies from the left political spectrum. Just my opinion and I may just be a lil bit of the opposite in my bias.

I agree that the events that led up to now is a natural way of national political debate. No changing that... That said I don't agree with you on the illegal alien coverage. In my opinion its not as opaque as you think but may only be so due to conservatives. Politifact did a truthometer test on that issue already.

At any rate thanks for addressing my first post on this kewl site. Sorry for not being any good at posting urls. :)

I think it's hilarious that Republicans don't have any trouble with 1000% markup on products, or 30% interest rates, but lawyers making money from lawsuits just KILLS them. In a capitalistic society, money is the only penalty that makes a difference for malpractice. I recently read an article where a resident doctor lamented about workload rules for accreditation, and said she used to work 120 hours a week before these current restrictions. It is insane that anyone could do a capable job working that many hours.

Nalakilla, you're right that Polifact correctly showed that the current health reform bill does not add coverage for illegal immigrants. Nevertheless, illegal immigrants will probably be included, at least to some degree, because:

1. The health care bill doesn't add health care for illegal immigrants, but it doesn't specifically deny coverage. Illegal immigrants are currently entitled to health care at emergency rooms. So, that level of care would probably remain after health reform is enacted.

2. Illegal immigrants might receive health care because nothing is done to verify whether they're legal. The House Democrats rejected a Republican amendment to require verification using the existing methods that are already in place to verify eligibility for other federal benefits programs. Also, some jurisdictions might choose not to check eligibility as a matter of policy, just as some jurisdictions today choose not to enforce immigration laws.

3. There's a chance that courts might require some coverage for illegal immigrants. Courts have added other benefits for illegal immigrants.

4. Health care for illegal immigrants is a popular issue among a substantial group of voters. There's a good chance that this coverage might be added to the bill as an amendment or added later in a separate bill.

5. President Obama has indicated that he supports care for illegal immigrant children, making it more likely that this coverage will be added to the bill.

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