Let’s talk about those “death panels”

Remember that whole crazy thing: Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Betsey McCaughey?

Remember that editorial in Investor’s Business Daily, possibly the greatest own-goal in the history of health policy?

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Remember IBD’s subsequent correction? It quietly removed the self-refuting passage and added this “Editor’s note:”

This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.

I remember all that. For more, here’s me at Politico Magazine.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

4 thoughts on “Let’s talk about those “death panels””

  1. On the first day that “death panels” became a household word, someone from the Obama administration should have come out and said, “These people do not want you to have the choice to discuss with your doctor what kind of care you want in your final days. They do not want you to have the choice to spend your last days at home with your loved ones; they want the government to force you to spend that time in a hospital intensive care unit, hooked up to tubes and machines and electronic devices just because those measures will prolong your life by a few days or weeks.”

    Pres. Obama instead gave a rather lame denial that the ACA was going to kill granny. That little smart ass from Alaska continued to have the polemical momentum instead of being thrown on the defensive as she deserved to be thrown.

  2. Best sentence from the linked article:

    Politicians across the political spectrum have made important contributions in the domain of intellectual disability.

    Yes, indeedy.

  3. Let's not talk about "death panels". Refuse to discuss end-of-life care with anyone who repeats a simple lie for political gain. OK, you can cite it to identify and shame the guilty.

  4. The whole brouhaha about "death panels" is the height of stupidity, and should have immediately been pegged as such.

    "I beg your pardon … which insurance company do you have that automatically covers everything???"

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