Meanwhile, the debate over health care reform is playing out according to a familiar script. Armies of conscienceless right-wing attack dogs make stuff up in their attempt to prevent some sensible piece of social reform. Democrats are slow to respond, figuring that no one could possibly be sufficiently naive and gullible to believe the right-wing fictions. Then, sure enough, a significant segment of the American public rises up to prove them wrong.

Here’s Ceci Connelly reporting on the phenomenon:

A campaign on conservative talk radio, fueled by President Obama’s calls to control exorbitant medical bills, has sparked fear among senior citizens that the health-care bill moving through Congress will lead to end-of-life “rationing” and even “euthanasia.”

The controversy stems from a proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical interventions they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills. Under the plan, Medicare would reimburse doctors for one session every five years to confer with a patient about his or her wishes and how to ensure those preferences are followed. The counseling sessions would be voluntary.

But on right-leaning radio programs, religious e-mail lists and Internet blogs, the proposal has been described as “guiding you in how to die,” “an ORDER from the Government to end your life,” promoting “death care” and, in the words of antiabortion leader Randall Terry, an attempt to “kill Granny.”

And the effect of the campaign?

In the past two weeks, AARP has fielded a few thousand calls from people who mistakenly think the legislation would require every Medicare recipient to “choose how they want to die,” said James Dau, a spokesman for the organization.

Though he is “willing to give the benefit of the doubt” to some who may be confused, Dau complained that the effort to “intentionally distort” the proposal “is just plain cruel to anyone who is forced to make one of these difficult decisions at the end of life.”

The American Medical Association, which supports the provision, has received similar inquiries and protests from patients who fear doctors will begin denying care late in life.

“These are important discussions everyone should have when they are healthy and not entering a hospital, so they are fully informed and can make their wishes known,””said association President J. James Rohack. “That’s not controversial; it’s plain, old-fashioned patient-centered care.”

Do these folks never ask, “Is that plausible?” You would think that by the time you reach your senior years you have heard enough lies from public figures to be suspicious of such extravagant claims, but apparently not.

Meanwhile, consider this:

I recently talked with a Central New Jersey constituent about health care reform and my belief that we need an optional publicly administered health insurance plan. He objected, voicing concern that government should stay out of the health care business. Government-run health care would be inefficient. It would be costly. It would put the government between him and his doctor. It would mean socialized medicine.

How did he pay for his health care, I asked.

“Medicare” he responded.

That’s NJ representative Rush Holt.

It has been wisely said that against stupidity the Gods themselves toil in vain.


  1. #1 eric b
    August 1, 2009

    This kind of ignorance is the problem with the voting population of the US. Too many times people make voting decisions based upon commericals, pundits, or what friends tell them….rather than doing some honest reading into the matter themselves. What a great job TWISTING the truth until it is unrecognizable. If your son or daughter did this around the house, the discipline would be tough.

  2. #2 Tex
    August 2, 2009

    legislation would require every Medicare recipient to “choose how they want to die,”

    Ooh! ooh! Can I pick first?

    I want to be shot by my lover’s husband who comes home early when I am 105.

  3. #3 csrster
    August 2, 2009

    Can I be vaporised in a space battle?

  4. #4 John McGrath
    August 2, 2009

    The famous Art of War advises that the way to win is to deceive your enemy as much as possible. These lies are just part of a right wing deception strategy to make Americans despair of government’s ability to solve problems. The purpose for most of the deceivers is to advance the cause of “No New taxes, Lower Taxes Now” but it also advances the corporate looting of the public treasury.

    The elderly are particularly prone to believing evil rumors.

  5. #5 Blake Stacey
    August 2, 2009

    It has been wisely said that against stupidity the Gods themselves toil in vain.

    I see what you did there.

    Anyway, I think I’d like to die when the stellar ignition of Jupiter, induced by an exponential growth of monoliths, destroys my spaceship. But not before I radio to Earth the message, “ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS, EXCEPT EUROPA. . .”

  6. #6 NJ
    August 2, 2009

    Yeah, Blake, but it will end up being reported by Fox as:


  7. #7 Pierce R. Butler
    August 2, 2009

    From a 7/16 email by James Dobson’s Washington minion Tony Perkins:

    ObamaCare will enable the Washington liberals to use your taxes to turn their entire anti-life agenda-from unrestricted abortion on demand to euthanasia-into national health care policy. That’s moral disaster No. 1.

    And because federal taxes will pay for treatment and medicine, ObamaCare will give federal bureaucrats life-and-death power to decide who’s worthy of care . . . and who’s not. … When you-or your child or elderly parent-need medicine or treatment, how will the government classify you: WORTHY OR NOT?

    That’s moral disaster No. 2. Moral disaster No. 3 is:

    ObamaCare’s arrogant assault on religious freedom!

    Pro-life health care professionals will lose their careers unless they set aside their convictions and perform tax-paid abortions, dispense contraceptives, and provide “morning after” pills.

    Tax-and-Death. Your taxes paying for the Left’s deadly agenda.

    These guys don’t miss a framing trick.

  8. #8 Pierce R. Butler
    August 2, 2009

    Oops, I left out the most important part:

    Please send a “co-pay” gift today …

  9. #9 Tony P
    August 2, 2009

    I cannot for a moment understand the uproar over the proposal to counsel about death.

    When I was in my Catholic elementary school we did a semester on death and dying. I still remember it quite well.

  10. #10 Flabbergasted
    August 2, 2009

    Read the darn bill yourself (I did). There is no requirement to meet with anyone regarding end of life care. It only states it is covered, and states that if you haven’t had one previously, what should be discussed.

    It’s a pretty easy section to read. If you believe the rhetoric and don’t check it out for yourself, you are choosing ignorance.

  11. #11 Bubbala
    August 3, 2009

    Yes, the weak and elderly are “prone to believing baseless rumors.” Just get in the boxcar and don’t worry…

  12. #12 Bubbala
    August 3, 2009

    What services (would be) “covered” are those that physicians are going to be using and dispensing, and directing patients to use. I mean, the Left likes to paint “the Right” as “stupid” but the amount of foolishness and outright stupidity evident in just some of the comments here tests even a sixth-grade debate class’ patience.

    As long as “services” are “covered,” they are then used, accessed and suggested, in any “plan” and especially when/if “the goverment” is “the plan”. So, yes, of course, elderly and frail patients ARE going to be encouraged if not told to participate in “end of life counselling.” “The Plan” makes a great big ‘do’ out of making those “services” available and “covered,” so of course frail and elderly patients will be directed to use those “services.”

    One lonely elderly or frail disabled who worries they’re “a burden” gets hugs and encouragements (and it’s “covered”) while listening to suggestions to end one’s life. They go home, perhaps alone, and worry they’re doing the inadvisable thing to remain alive (no one’s hugging them to encourage them to do so), so they start dwelling more and more on ending their life. Then they partake of yet more of those “covered services” and get more hugs. Where do you think that frail and/or elderly person is headed? They’re headed toward euthanasia and THAT is what these “services” are all about.

    It’s monstrous that groups such as AARP are making inquiries feel foolish for asking these questions. Which, I add, is also part of that “plan” that works toward making the frail and elderly as insecure about their futures as possible.

  13. #13 Tyler DiPietro
    August 3, 2009

    “They’re headed toward euthanasia and THAT is what these “services” are all about.”

    Except for the fact that euthanasia and assisted suicide are, you know, not legal in the United States.

  14. #14 Ian
    August 3, 2009

    Why are people surprised when we have a two-party system and there is constant conflict between the two parties?

  15. #15 JimR
    August 3, 2009

    The primary i$$ue is the money. The hole in Social Security is about the same size and there is no discussion about health care costs in the larger context of all the promised benefits in extant legislation. At some point retirement checks, unemployment checks, health care, environmental remediation, defense, etc. will have to be rationed. The debate should start now on our spending priorities.

  16. #16 Jud
    August 3, 2009

    Oh, it gets even better.

    – House Minority Leader John Boehner is one of those peppering the airwaves with the euthanasia nonsense.

    – The birthers are combining this with their preexisting delusional worldview to come up with Evil Manchurian Muslim Obama’s Plot to Kill Americans Starting With Teh Seniors!!!

  17. #17 Kallan.G
    August 3, 2009

    Here in the UK we’re having quite a lot of press on end of life issues.

    The problem I’ve been having is that often these things get argued as being a slippery slope and the one thing that’s missing from the discussion is evidence which is stupid because there are many places across the world where euthanasia is legal and all we need to do is look at the evidence and we’ll see if there is a slippery slope. But no, why use evidence in an emotive debate when screaming and hysteria works so much better.

  18. #18 Mandrake
    August 3, 2009

    “…entire anti-life agenda…” Mrahahahaha!

    Next, there’s this problem with the scare tactic–a government bureaucrat getting between you and your doctor. That doesn’t sound much different from how private insurance companies do the same thing. A gastroenterologist at my doctor’s practice was *fuming* that one of his patient’s insurance company was denying coverage for a specific prescription that he wanted to prescribe. He said that in this case, a similar (read “cheaper) medication was not sufficient, and despite his 40 years of medical practice, experience and judgment, an insurance administrator refused his written appeal of the initial decision declining coverage.

    Then there’s the time I hurt my knee executing a terrible slide into third base during a softball game. (You’ll be relieved to know that I was safe.) I knew I injured my MCL. My doctor knew it too and wanted me to get an MRI; however, the insurance company required me to get an x-ray before getting an MRI. Because we were looking at a soft-tissue injury, my doctor said that the x-ray would show nothing. Still, I had to get the x-ray, the insurance company had to be billed for it, and I was unncecessarily subject to radiation. Of course, the x-ray showed nothing.

    Bubbala wrote: [i]As long as “services” are “covered,” they are then used, accessed and suggested, in any “plan” and especially when/if “the goverment” is “the plan”.[/i] There are plenty of services that my insurance covers (or partially covers), but I have yet to see a chiropractor or get acupuncture. Nor has anyone encouraged me or told me to participate in these services. Why would the government?

    And a P.S. to Mr. Perkins: Everyone dies. I don’t see why thinking about and having at least some control as to the terms of one’s death is so evil. Kudos to Washington state (and Oregon?) for passing end-of-life legislation that empowers terminally-ill people to have a dignified and comfortable exit strategy.

  19. #19 MartyM
    August 3, 2009

    A co-worker attended Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill’s health care question and answer forum and started ranting
    “I don’t want a doctor appointed by the government to determine when I can live and when I can die. It’s time to end this.” If you watch the video in the upper right corner of the site, he’s the first commenter. So now I see where he gets this. Actually he is a strict libertarian whack-a-loo. And believes some the “government cover-up” conspiracy theories.

  20. #20 truthspeaker
    August 5, 2009

    Democrats are slow to respond, figuring that no one could possibly be sufficiently naive and gullible to believe the right-wing fictions.

    How can they not learn after being wrong so many times?

  21. #21 Heathcare seeker
    August 5, 2009

    There is an excellent blog about the ongoing healthcare debate at

  22. #22 MartyM
    August 6, 2009

    “Excellent blog”? If you go for the anti-science mantra of creationism, climate change denialists, and the anti-vaccine movement. Or, if you buy into the notion that Republicans are from GOD and everyone else is from the Devil. But don’t worry, no one is reading or commenting on those ramblings.

  23. #23 Charles Montgomery
    August 10, 2009

    All you folks have missed out..

    I already have my application in to be on the Death Panel.

    Eat your hearts out!

    I post it that way because I’m not sure if “a href” is a “simple HTML tag.”


  24. #24 dış cephe
    August 10, 2009

    Great post.Thanks.

  25. #25 crf
    August 16, 2009

    Ha. The Republicans won. There will be no death panels. No medicare reimbursement for end of life counselling.

    The media are afraid that accurately calling out lies will alienate too many viewers/advertisers. When that happens, they’re quite happy to be a party to spreading vicious lies.

    What do you think the delusional party’s senators will next target? I’d go for the whole kit and caboodle, because they’ve proved lying and fearmongering will work.

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