Obama's Blog Misleads Public About Death Panels

Friday, August 21, 2009

So I was on Facebook this morning and discovered that several of my liberal friends are posting this:

It's tim
e to set the record straight
: my.barackobama.com
The speci
al interests who profit from the status quo are getting nervous. They can't win an honest debate, so they're spreading lies to incite fear and anger. Help set the record straight - watch the video and share the truth with your friends.

I’ll admit that I was curious about this video they’re promoting so I visited the site, which turns out to be Obama's official blog. As you might expect, it wasn’t about “Learning the Truth” by setting the record straight at all. Here is their first “truth” and why, according to the actual bill, it’s completely false.

1. Sarah Palin makes false claims about “death panels” in the proposal while there is no such panel listed in bill.

While the words “death panel” are obviously not included in the proposal, Sarah Palin’s description is absolutely correct.

First, Section 1233 of HR 3200 includes “Advanced Care Planning Consultation” for senior citizens that involves:

“(E) An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title.
A bit further down, a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant is given this power:
(B) The level of treatment indicated under subparagraph (A)(ii) may range from an indication for full treatment to an indication to limit some or all or specified interventions.”
And the bill DOES state that this will be done every 5 years or sooner depending on the patient’s condition. Section (3)(A) refers to the “5-year limitation under paragraph (1)”. If paragraph (1) wasn’t implying time limits, why is it referenced later as one?

Second, the purpose of the Comparative Effectiveness Research Council is to gather information about the effectiveness of medical treatments. Including the cost. Right off their site, it states under Prioritization Criteria that it will evaluate:
1. Potential Impact (based on prevalence of condition, burden of disease, variability in outcomes, and costs of care)”
In other words, it can decide whether each method of treatment provides enough of an improvement or outcome to justify its cost. An expensive procedure for an elderly patient may not be justified financially, especially if they have a “progressive” or “chronic” condition.

The Council also states on their homepage that it “will consider the needs of populations served by federal programs” in evaluating their data. Good of the whole, at the expense of individuals.

Looks like Sarah Palin nailed it while these guys need to look at the details of the bill they’re defending.


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