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THE TRUTH: THERE IS NO “DEATH PANEL” MENTIONED IN ANY OF THE HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM BILLS UNDER CONSIDERATION, AND THERE NEVER WAS.


Former Governor Sarah Palin recently posted a note on her official Facebook page that falsely claimed that, under health insurance reform, a “death panel” of bureaucrats would “decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.” The truth is that no such panel exists, or has ever been proposed in any version of the health care bills in Congress, that would judge a person’s “level of productivity in society” or determine whether they are “worthy” of health care. [1]


The author of a similar provision, Republican Johnny Isakson, said it was “nuts” to claim the bill encourages euthanasia. [2] Even Palin's home-state Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, after hearing Palin's comments, said, “It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there's these end-of-life provisions, these death panels... Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn't (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill.” [3]




SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT:

[1] “We have read all 1,000-plus pages of the Democratic bill and examined versions in various committees. There is no panel in any version of the health care bills in Congress that judges a person's 'level of productivity in society' to determine whether they are 'worthy' of health care. Palin's claim sounds a little like another statement making the rounds, which says that health care reform would mandate counseling for seniors on how to end their lives sooner. We rated this claim Pants on Fire! The truth is that the health bill allows Medicare, for the first time, to pay for doctors' appointments for patients to discuss living wills and other end-of-life issues with their physicians. These types of appointments are completely optional, and AARP supports the measure. ... But that's not what Palin said. She said that the Democratic plan will ration care and "my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care." Palin's statement sounds more like a science fiction movie (Soylent Green, anyone?) than part of an actual bill before Congress. We rate her statement Pants on Fire!” [Politifact, 8/10/09]


[2] “However, other Republicans, including Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Johnny Isakson of Georgia - who sponsored similar legislation - have said Palin’s claim was hurting the party’s attempts to influence the bill.... Isakson said it was "nuts" to claim the bill encourages euthanasia.” [The Boston Globe, 8/14/09]


[3] “‘It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there's these end-of-life provisions, these death panels,’ Murkowski, a Republican, said. ‘Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn't (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill.’” [Anchorage Daily News, 8/12/09]

False ‘Death Panel’ rumor has some familiar roots

“There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure.” [ The New York Times, 8/13/09]


No 'Death Panel' in health care bill

“Palin and other critics are wrong. Nothing in the legislation would carry out such a bleak vision.” [Associated Press, 8/11/09]


The claim that the House health care bill pushes suicide is nonsense

“At least two Republican leaders have echoed this end-of-life distortion. On July 23, Republican Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House minority leader, released a statement, along with Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, saying that the bill would encourage euthanasia.” [FactCheck.org, 7/29/09]

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