Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Elephants, Donkeys, and "Death Panels"

I vividly remember, and I'm sure many of you do, too, the insanely intense debate about ObamaCare that went on prior to it becoming law. The Sheepdog and many others, more knowledgeable than I, barked very loudly in opposition to the legislation. We did so for a number of reasons, which included :
  1. Despite the claims of the legislation's supporters, we did not believe ObamaCare would control rising healthcare costs. It was our opinion that it would actually accelerate them.
    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in Dover, NH.
    Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in Dover, NH. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  2. We felt that once the costs of ObamaCare went out of control, it would lead to the rationing of healthcare. The legislation's supporters said, "Naw - that's crazy talk."
  3. A number of experts, along with Sarah Palin and other political figures, claimed that the legislation would lead to so-called "death panels." This idea came from the provision within the bill that established a bureaucracy known as the "Independent Payment Advisory Board" (IPAB). After I read the legislation through, it appeared to me they were correct.
Now, what is this "death panel" thing ? Basically, it is the IPAB and its authority, granted by the legislation, to either approve or disapprove medical procedures, coverage, and payments for such to medical providers. The members of the IPAB could conceivably choose not to cover or pay for a person's medical care as they saw fit due to cost or other reasons. This could include necessary surgery, prescriptions, and other things. In the event a life-saving surgery or procedure is necessary, if the IPAD refused to cover it, and the patient doesn't have the surgery / procedure, the patient will, of course, die. Thereby, the term "death panel." As a transplant recipient, I felt at the time, and still do, that transplants would be the first thing axed, because they are so expensive.

Sarah Palin was one of the ones who vehemently cried out and warned about the "death panels." She was vilified, smeared, called an idiot, and threatened for it. Her claims were referred to as "the biggest lie of the year." Palin's warnings led to Obama going on record and saying "there are no so-called death panels." He even referred to Palin's claims as "Phony."
Death Panels
Death Panels (Photo credit: Renegade98)

Now, the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, has written an editorial for the Wall Street Journal titled "The Affordable Care Act's Rate Setting Won't Work" which validates the claims of Palin, myself, and many others. I am gonna break out a few of the highlights below, but I encourage you to click here and read the entire editorial, also. As Glenn Beck would say, "do your own homework."

Being a "good Democrat," the first thing Dean does in his editorial is criticize Republicans' continuing effort to stop ObamaCare as "willfully destructive." What do you expect, right ? Personally, I don't think the Republicans have got a clue on how fix the healthcare problems in this country anymore than the Democrats do, but I've already beaten that horse to death, so I'll let it lie.

After taking his shot at the GOP in the editorial, Dean says :
  1. "One major problem is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them."
  2. The IPAB will not be able to control healthcare costs, because its increased bureacracy will drive up administrative costs, and therefore overall healthcare costs.
  3. Both patients and medical providers will be left frustrated.
Photo credit : John P. Hoke via Wikipedia.
Aren't these the exact same problems with ObamaCare that myself and others pointed out from the get go ? Aren't these the exact some issues for which Sarah Palin was vilified for pointing out ? Now, we have a top Democrat and former Chairman of the DNC basically agreeing with Conservatives ... and Sarah Palin. Hmmm. Interesting. Oh, oh, oh ... and before I forget - did I mention that Dean is a DOCTOR ? In my opinion, that makes his assessment of ObamaCare much more credible than the Community Organizer in Chief's.

Dean's editorial leaves us with a top Democrat agreeing, at least in part, with Palin, other Republicans, myself, other Conservatives, and other anti-ObamaCare Americans. One can make the argument that Dean's editorial shows that the claim that so-called "death panels" were "the biggest lie of the year" is in of itself ... a lie.

So, who's the "phony" now ?
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