Reality check

Down Syndrome babies are not threatened by “death panels,” because no one has proposed “death panels.” But they are denied health insurance, because Down Syndrome is a “pre-existing condition.”

Note to Sarah Palin:

No, Down Syndrome children and their families are not threatened by “Obama’s Death Panels,” for the excellent reason that Obama’s Death Panels do not exist and have not been proposed.

Down Syndrome children and their families are, however, routinely denied health insurance because Down Syndrome is a “pre-existing condition.”

One disadvantage of worrying about imaginary threats is that it distracts your attention from actual problems. In this case, for Palin, that may be a feature rather than a bug. If we just concentrate on the horrible things the wingnuts pretend the eeeeeevil gummint is going to do to us, we’ll ignore the horrible things the insurance companies are actually doing to us right now.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: