To The Daily Sun,
You might think that since the ACA has been deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, implemented, and met and exceeded its signup goals, that a made-up scare tactic like "death panels" would fade away. But it appears this "Lie of the Year" for 2009 is to be perpetuated by Ms. Landry, Mr. Demakowski and other conservatives. They are twisting themselves into knots trying to defend a myth and attempting to revive "death panels" amid weeks of good news of ACA successes. The only "death panels" I've found are those attempting to kill the ACA.
Ms. Landry, if an insurance company refused to pay for surgery because the company's analysis showed a subscriber already too sick and believed surgery wouldn't save the life, or that an individual wouldn't be covered by insurance because of a pre-existing condition, would your friend Ph.D. Betsey McCaughey label them "death panels"? This kind of utilitarian rationing is exactly what Palin, McCaughey and other opponents of the ACA say they want to protect the country from — but it's rife with them already. Thousands of people are dropped from insurance rolls yearly for such reasons as typos on forms, pre-existing conditions or a family member's medical history — talk about your "death panels."
In honoring my request for "death panel" guidance, I researched Mr. Demakowski's suggestion of The Independent Payment Advisory Board. This is a section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act whose explicit task is to achieve specified savings in Medicare without affecting coverage or quality. I found that with regard to IPAB's recommendations, the law says, "The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums. I found nothing to indicate a "death panel."
Congressman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), referenced by Ms. Landry, is a retired physician and chairman of a House Labor and Health Subcommittee. He is considered a "kindred soul" by the medical industry, partly because he has introduced legislation to remove the IPAB provision in the ACA that is meant to rein in the growth of Medicare payments. He charges that the IPAB would deny care even though the law explicitly bars "any recommendation to ration health care." It's also interesting to note that Ms. McCaughey has strong ties to the medical industry, having served as a member of the boards of directors of medical equipment companies Genta and Cantel Medical Corporation.
Health care by definition involves life and death decisions, but Ms. Landry and Mr. Demakowski have drawn conclusions that vastly exceed the implications of their evidence.
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