In the aftermath of the passage of Obamacare we have witnessed an onslaught of accidental truth telling by Democrats. We have heard from some that the EO does nothing. Duh. We have heard that Obamacare is really about distributing the wealth. Duh. But I found this particular but of truth telling to be most fascinating.
Liberals have derided the concept of ‘death panels’ for months ever since Sarah Palin coined the term. Nonsense, they shouted. President Obama laughingly and condescendingly dismissed the the notion. But now that it is passed, there is no problem admitting it now. Yes, there are death panels.
Paul Krugman of the NY Times appearing on This Week laughs at the notion of death panel and then goes on to explain in startling detail how the death panels will save money.
The advisory panel which has the ability to make more or less binding judgments on saying this particular expensive treatment actually doesn’t do any good medically and so we are not going to pay for it. That is actually going to save quite a lot of money. We don’t know how much yet. The CBO gives it very little credit but, but most, most of the health care economists I talk to think that’s going be a really, uh a really major cost savings.
First off, I loathe dis-ingenuousness. How can you say a panel is merely ‘advisory’ when it gets to make ‘binding decisions?’ But Gramma wants to live but an impersonal panel says no because ‘it won’t do any good’ and that is binding. So Gramma dies. But that is ok because “health care economists I talk to think that’s going be a really, uh a really major cost savings.”
A lot of people owe Sarah Palin an apology.
March 31, 2010 at 4:53 pm
Congratulations, we are now a society of Houyhnhnms.
March 31, 2010 at 5:54 pm
Were they sitting around that table laughing at the remark, "Death panels would save a lot of money?" Did I hear that right? How crass!
Krugman's point seems to be that if conservatives are so concerned about saving money, they should be all in favor of the "advisory" death panels because they'll save loads of cash! Unbelievable!
March 31, 2010 at 7:50 pm
I guess I didn't interpret what he said the same way. It didn't sound like he was saying that they would take away effective treatments from a patient, but ineffective treatments. Like when insurance companies refuse to pay the drug prescribed (which would help the patient), but instead tell the doctor to use another drug that costs 2x as much (but the doctor knows it won't treat the patient). Instead of giving the patient nothing, the doctor gives them the more expensive, covered drug.
I could be totally wrong, but that's how I heard it.
April 1, 2010 at 1:24 am
Angela has a point.
April 1, 2010 at 2:33 am
No. I'm afraid Angela does not have a point. I fear she has been sucked in by the insidiousness of the whole culture of death talking points. The fact is – the "advisory" panels will decide on their own if a treatment is "ineffective". If Grandma is seeking the treatment it must be because her physician has determined the treatment would be effective. But the death panel (err advisory efficiency panel) overrules the physician and says "no". Case closed because the decision is "binding".
Come on people. Open your eyes and think for yourselves.
April 1, 2010 at 2:38 am
Angela, I interpreted this as you have…as it was said. And I personally agree with this view. It's not Death Panels. It's about eliminating ineffective and unnecessary treatment so that the cost of healthcare is reasonable enough so that we can afford the EFFECTIVE treatments.
April 1, 2010 at 2:41 am
To follow up on my point…
The core problem here is that the advisory panel will be making determinations of "effectiveness" by weighing costs vs. benefits. They will be driven by the costs because we all know the costs will skyrocket. Accordingly, the older one gets the more difficult it will be to "tip the scale" of cost versus benefit. Sure, the procedure might give Grandma another five years of life. Five more years to enjoy her children and grandchildren and to continue her faith journey. But hey, we can't evaluate such subjective factors. Obama said so himself! So, sorry Grandma – you just don't have enough time left to warrant the cost of the procedure.
Chilling. Very chilling. And it WILL happen. In our heart of hearts we know that.
April 1, 2010 at 2:46 am
Dear "anonymous", Angela was thinking for herself. Just because you don't agree with her doesn't mean she isn't capable of forming her own thoughts.
And don't you think insurance companies are basically death panels as well?
Insurance company: "Um, sorry that condition was "pre-existing", we won't pay for it."
Case closed, grandmom is still going to die because the company won't shell out to pay for the treatment. Insurance companies have the same right to overrule a physicians recommendation.
April 1, 2010 at 5:21 am
No matter how they parse it-it's the same mentality that thinks that women shouldn't be "punished with a baby." What weight does the sanctity of life carry when up against cost and efficiency?
April 1, 2010 at 7:13 am
I'd have to agree with Anonymous on this. Call it what you want, but this is about government deciding who gets treatment and who does not.
Isn't it ironic after all the vilification of the HMOs, we now get a system where the government can do exactly what the HMOs were blasted for?
Evidently it's OK if the *government* does it however. I'd call that rank hypocrisy however. If it is wrong for the HMOs to do this, it is also wrong for the government to make such decisions.
April 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm
If it is hypocrisy to call attention to the fact that insurance companies have the same right that you are condemning the government for, then isn't it hypocrisy for keeping your health coverage? You'll notice Chris never lauded the government's intervention, but merely responded to the death panel as solely a government tool. Anon actually made a point where decisions are based on cost, and wouldn't you agree companies, driven by a bottom line, would also make decisions based on expense?
If you're going to be critical you need to address both. And if you are critical of both you'll see the need for reform on things like pre-existing conditions, which is one of the insurance companies challenges on life with keeping down cost and efficiency.
April 1, 2010 at 6:40 pm
@Anonymous 11:32 AM
You introduce several red herrings which have nothing to do with what I said, seeking to imply I support things I do not.
I believe the point I make is that if Government care is to be an improvement over the current system, it ought not to emulate the things which it denounced the current system for having.
Do not assume I favor the status quo. I believe reform (but not this reform) is necessary. This is about hypocrisy on the part of the government and their supporters which loudly condemned the HMOs for this practice, yet allowed it into law here or, in the case of the supporters, stay silent on this issue.
Whether one calls it a "Death panel" or whether one calls it an "advisory panel" the result is the same.
Was it wrong for an HMO to deny coverage? If so it is also wrong for the government to do so. If it is *not* wrong for the government to decide that a procedure cannot help and will not approve it to save money, then neither can the HMO be condemned.
The choice is logical consistency or hypocrisy.
I personally would denounce both the HMO and the government for their actions.
April 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm
I consider these advisory panels, as well as insurers, to be practicing medicine without a license. The insurance companies, if they are going to accept the premiums, then they pay out when a claim is filed. I'm not averse to them checking out the validity of the doctors' diagnosis and specified treatment. But, someone, other than a licensed physician/surgeon deciding treatment, is still practicing medicine without a license AND without even seeing the patient. What is wrong with this picture?
April 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm
Much of the details of this bill are yet to be written. That will come later after the HHS writes the regulatory langauge, which will govern these "advisory panels". One may give these panels the benefit of the doubt, and hope that thier intentions are only root out waste and redundancy. However, the power that the legislative language gives these boards goes beyond advisory.
The HHS will be default become one of the most powerful and feared federal departments in the US. In Europe, an ambitious bureaucrat covets the Health Department more than the Foreign Secretary or Defense Department. As a matter of fact, in most EU nations the Defense Minister is akin to the Postmaster General in the US. The US is only evolving into what the EU has been for decades.
In short, the HHS Advisory Panels will grow and grow and grow. Thier powers will increase, in light of large expectant budget crisis. There will be a lot of pressure to bend the cost curve -and the curve will be bent on the backs of the terminally and chronically ill.
April 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm
Angela heard correctly what Krugman and all the proponents of the single payer socialized medical system wanted her to hear. That the advisory panels will prevent wasteful spending on "ineffective" treatments. In other words, an expensive treatment that would give a few extra months of life to an elderly person would be denied, because it is not cost-effective. And there would likely be no recourse in such a system, even if the patient had the money and even if those few extra months would mean the world to the patient and family. That is how it plays out in Canada and Britain, perhaps with some exceptions for the ultrarich and powerful. Unless we act diligently and aggressively now to repeal the bill, we will be at the mercy of the Krugmans of the world. Hit that replay button and take a good look at your future. Lord have mercy. Kit.
April 4, 2010 at 1:32 am
Is their agenda to also curtail the population growth? I am sure these "death panel" decisions would help.
April 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm
The Lord does have mercy, and we should show his Grace by keeping the extension of health care coverage to those that don't have it, Kit.
April 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm
Anyone that actually believes these panels will stop at denying someone expensive antibiotics when less expensive, equally effective ones are available…is just a FOOL.
We already know what is going to happen, b/c we have countries with national healthcare as an example to show us. In Sept last year, medical personnel in the UK refused to treat a preemie born just two days before the "national guidelines" said treatment would be effective. Born at 21 weeks and five days gestation, the baby boy was refused intensive care because he was two days under the limit set by Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a UK bioethics think tank that creates guidelines for medical practice. The same thing happened in Oct. in Mississippi here, when a doctor refused to treat a preemie born a few days shy of 23 weeks. In both cases, the mothers were literally begging the docs and nurses to try to save their children's lives–but they all walked away.
It IS coming here. I am just baffled why so many people refuse to see the writing on the wall, when we can clearly see in other nations what happens when you give people the right to decide whose situation merits medical intervention and whose does not.
April 8, 2010 at 1:42 pm
And don't forget the Netherlands and the UK–both of which admit that they regularly practice infanticide on disabled infants (including Down's Syndrome) because it would not be "cost-effective" to keep them alive. When they are not aborted ahead of time, that is.
April 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm
Let me get this straight:
Private insurance companies denying people coverage: Good.
Federal panels deciding what sorts of penalties should be assessed for medical malpractice: Okay.
Taking away senior citizens safety net against private insureance: Okay.
Reigning in medical costs that everyone acknowledges are out of control by deciding whether certain end-of-life procedures are effective: Bad.
Got it. Insanity all around.