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April 06, 2010


Always curious about the definition of "myths" and "misinformation" in your posts Brendan.

For example, it's true the current bill doesn’t specify "prison" time for people who don't buy health insurance.

In fact, I've read some sources saying the mandate may be unenforceable at this time. However, even if this is the case, I don't expect it would remain unenforced for very long; otherwise it's pointless.

Assuming it's going to be enforced at some time -what would happen if someone refuses to pay the fine? Is it really inconceivable that the logical end to the enforcement of such a mandate might not be incarceration?

Just because Coburn says the "intention" is not jail-time, doesn't mean the unintended consequences might not end up getting there.

This is similar to the "death panel" myth. Just because it's not in the current law, it’s reasonable to look at possible (probable?) consequences of the structure producing severely rationed care, as has happened elsewhere with nationalized medicine.

In other words, is something a “myth” or “misinformation” even though it may be significantly likely as a logical consequence of the law?

It seems to me you should be explaining why something like a “death panel” or “jail-time” will never happen - countering arguments from the other side - before simply labeling the ideas as preposterous.

To make it easy for Brendan, here's a check list so he can indicate his reason for asserting that Death Panels are a myth.

1. Nothing by that name or description is explicitly in the bill.
2. There's no particular reason to believe that anything like a Death Panel will be a part of government health care.
3. Every good liberal knows Death Panels are a myth.

If Brendan's reason is #2, he might want to think again. Tomorrow's NY Times has an analysis that more or less predicts the need for something like a Death Panel:

None of these steps will allow us to avoid the wrenching debates that are an inevitable part of health policy. Eventually, we may well have to decide against paying for expensive treatments with only modest benefits.


The biggest category of "expensive treatments with only modest benefits" is end-of-life care. It's an overdramatic term, but I think "Death Panel" is a fair name for the group that will decides when end-of-life care should be provided and when it should be withheld.

Far more likely is that the Senator will be seen as an enemy of the tea baggers and will most likely have an "ideologically pure" primary opponent at the first chance. The top down authoritarian based baggers are incapable of learning only responding to hate speech. I was as amazed at the Senator an Keith was on MSNBC last night. Plus he is about the last member of the GnOP that I thought would show a spark of intelligence.

The "tea party" folks are the "top down authoritarians"?


Good one j edward! are you sure it's not j swift? ;-)

This is the first comment I can recall by a Republican questioning Fox's veracity. I am amazed and gratified. I'll be interested to see how the far-right responds. I'll be amazed and gratified if they don't give him the traitor, Nazi, baby-killer, commie, where is your birth certificate? treatment. Please God, let me be wrong.

"It's an overdramatic term, but I think "Death Panel" is a fair name for the group that will decides when end-of-life care should be provided and when it should be withheld."

Except that no such panel exists, anymore than jail terms (for non-payment of the penalty for being uninsured) exist.

Howard, you say no such panel exists in the law. Really? I think you're wrong. I'm sure the law must include some procedure to determine the circumstances when care will be covered and when it won't. Any insurance plan would have to do that.

J Edward, the word is Tea-Partiers. Using the name of a homosexual practice as an insult automatically insults homosexuals. Let's please leave gay-bashing out of this blog.

Where your argument fails David is that you define what you believe may happen ("that end of life treatment will be with-held") to justify the term "death panel", but to support the use of the term all you can point to is the fact that health care coverage will have guidelines or limits of some sort. Sorry, but that is not the same thing.

It makes about as much sense as me saying that the police are "torturers" and justifying the term by explaining that if the police torture people that's what they'll be. To bolster that argument I can explain that the police hold and question people, so why isn't it reasonable that they will also torture them?

And my defense of calling the police "tortures" can conclude the same way your argument does - by saying "prove to me that it won't happen".

You have a point, Howard. However, I've gone farther than saying, "prove to me that limitations on end-of-life care won't happen." I've said that there will be such limitations, and the NY Times backs me up.

Interesting discussion of "What is a Death Panel?" If defined as I suggested, not only will the new law have "death panels", but Medicare and Medicaid already have them and so do private health carriers. Of course, there are other definitions under which the "death panel" charge is false.

This reminds me of Al Gore's promise to have a "Social Security Lockbox." There is no such thing. The term is absloutely meaningless. Later, Gore propounded a definition, but it was ridiculous. To his shame, George Bush copied Gore's usage.

It's too bad that ignoramuses like Bush, Gore and Palin frame our debates, but that's just the way it is.

OpinionJournal's Best of the Web Today makes a similar point to mine, but more sarcastically:
Still, patients' voluntarily forgoing treatments whose costs outweigh the benefits may not be enough. Having taken on, over the objections of the public, the responsibility for everyone's medical care, the federal government may not be able to keep its promise: "Eventually, we may well have to decide against paying for expensive treatments with only modest benefits."

Oops, sorry about that, Gramps!

It seems as though this is a pretty strong argument against ObamaCare. But we need to encapsulate it in a pithy phrase. What would you call governmental institutions that empower bureaucrats to decide when to deny medical treatment--panels, as it were, that have the authority to determine when a patient's death is necessary for the health of the fisc?

Coming up with a suitable term is a high-powered intellectual challenge. Our thinking cap is on, and we'll get back to you as soon as something dawns on us.


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