“Death Panels” Redux

Now that it’s been fairly well established that so-called “death panels” were never included (let alone envisioned) by the various healthcare reform proposals being advanced, the right-wing fear mongers have refined their line of attack into a paranoid slippery slope argument.

On Fox News this morning, the Doughy Pantload compared the controversial Veterans Administration end-of-life guide “Your Life, Your Choices” to the ethos behind Nazi eugenics, suggesting that healthcare reform would inevitably lead to a bureaucratic regime whereby certain people (the disabled and the melancholic, for example) who can no longer contribute productively to society are mercilessly “culled from the tribe.”

Update: More on the “slippery slope” argument that was trotted out on FNS yesterday.

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24 Comments

Filed under Health Care & Medicine

24 responses to ““Death Panels” Redux

  1. Here’s a challenge to you RT.. in the hopes of raising the bar of discussion.

    I posted Friday on my blog that the extreme mis-information coming from the right was undermining any long-term trust sought to be established in conservative points of view and was, frankly, embrassing, including Sarah Palin’s “Death Panel” hooey.

    Would you concede, however, that there are also some “fast and loose” arguments being raised by the administration, including, directly by Obama himself about “$30,000 to $50,000.00” inducements to doctors to amputate legs rather than encouraging proper lifestyle choices for diabetes patients, or removing tonsils when not necessary?

  2. ..and before you comment, I’ve already opined with a poster on the right in my own blog that the mis-statements are clearly more pronounced on the right than the left, IMHO..

  3. If those arguments about such inducements are being made, I’m really not familiar with them.

    However, when it comes to private healthcare you don’t have to look too hard to find all sorts of horror stories about medical decisions that were made (or denied) with more regard to the costs involved than beneficial outcomes.

    That said, I read the link to the Atlantic provided in the comments on your blog and would agree those types of remarks Obama made are unwarranted and inaccurate. I note however that the governing body of American surgeons noted “We assume that the President made these mistakes unintentionally” which may well be the case. If so, I’d expect not to see them repeated.

  4. ..and I think that, in fairness to Obama, the context of the commentary was broader than some suggest, in the sense that he wasn’t saying doctors would rather cut a leg off than counsel a patient because it’s more lucrative.. what he said is we have to “value” prevention at least as much as treating the results.. he just made I think an inappropriate exaggeration to support the point.

  5. I really hadn’t heard that remark made before. It’s certainly not a frequently repeated Dem talking point, so in that respect it’s quite different from the misleading lies and scare-mongering the Republicans have engaged in during this “debate” over healthcare.

    Personally, I’d like to see Obama get all Ross Perot on the thing with charts and graphs, but then I suspect if that was aired on TV it would probably lose out to “Desperate Housewives” or whatever.

  6. Ti-Guy

    I’ve already opined with a poster on the right in my own blog that the mis-statements are clearly more pronounced on the right than the left, IMHO..

    And thus, the World was saved from irrationality.

    Meanwhile, I failed utterly and completely to get Chuckercanuck to abandon his appreciation of Sarah Palin’s “Death panel” rhetoric. I’d be more heartbroken about if I weren’t convinced he knows he’s lying.

  7. Sadly, you’re right. It’s easier to package simple messages that don’t really educate the voting public, than to disseminate complex information on difficult subjects (can you say climate change?).

    And the drive to self-interest in the American system makes it even worse.

    It’s why I love Canada. We may debate the broad issues, but there is much less local politics involved on serious national issues where each individual MP seeks to get a special piece of the pie for his constituents (or more importantly, financial supporter) as a condition of supporting legislation.

  8. Ti-Guy

    It’s easier to package simple messages that don’t really educate the voting public, than to disseminate complex information on difficult subjects (can you say climate change?).

    It’s not that complex. It just seems that way because a lot of the discussion is focused on debunking complicated nonsense.

  9. Tomm

    “culled from the tribe”

    Wow. This is really underlining how ignorant and fearful is the average American. Perhaps the weakening of the schools over the past 30 years was on purpose, so they could breed a generation of American’s so ignorant and afraid that the raving of fanciful lunatics resonates with the masses.

    Of course the media filter includes those well covered in the area of personal health care, and fearful of “medicaid” and “county hospitals”.

  10. Really Ti-Guy?

    Well, then, that settles it, Ti-Guy, the anonymous web poster, of no particular skill set, has settled the science of climate change and/or has resolved the perfect health care model and will soon be given the Nobel prize and have his opinions adopted by all developed countries in the world.

    Honestly, sometimes, it’s like you aren’t even reading what you type. You are so quick to just want to dispose of someone’s commentary flippantly and out of hand, that you don’t realize that all you’re exposing is your own narrow-mindedness and ignorance.

    Just because I happen to say something doesn’t mean it’s wrong.. and in the bargain, you ignore that, essentially, I was agreeing with RT that it’s difficult to deal with issues of substance with our “fast-food” mentality electorate..

    So – RT – I guess we’re both wrong. Everything is simple, nothing is complex, it’s all black and white because the masked avenger says it’s so.

  11. Ti-Guy

    Just because I happen to say something doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

    It usually is, since you are almost exclusively orating on topics of which you have no expertise and make assertions you do not substantiate.

    You made a valid point over at your blog that you know very little about climate change and the move to opine thusly:

    It appears to me that current climate change debate has less to do with expanding the scope of our knowledge, and more to do with scientists, politicians and bloggers supporting their “camps”. When is the last time you read something that didn’t START with a premise. That wasn’t designed to SELL YOU on an idea, as opposed to just give you some information in an even-handed manner?.

    Its grandiosity is in inverse proportion to the amount of evidence provided to back it up. The only charitable thing I can say is that this probably just a reflection of how under-exposed to information you are.

    You have a right to your opinion, Rob, but a little humility would be in order.

    I just don’t find you credible. Sorry.

  12. “death panels may, in fact, be not too far off on the horizon because of the very nature of how socialized medicine and rationing works”

    and he bases this assertion on the death panels that have popped up all over europe over the last sixty years….

    KEvron

  13. I guess that would also explain why the life expectancy in those countries is usually longer (sometimes by as much as 4-5 years) than in the USA.

    But then, what chance do mere “facts” have against the baseless assertions of Jonah Goldberg?

  14. Ti-Guy

    All this “death panel” and rationing scenarios have been advanced using slippery slope arguments, which, lest we forget, are fallacies. Logical fallacies are, of course, the only form of argumentation Jonah Goldberg knows.

    Someone needs to send him more death threats.

  15. aka, “the camel’s nose”.

    too swarthy?

    KEvron

  16. ….you’d think forensics debate would be mandatory in a law degree curriculum.

    any speech and debate in your education, rob? this is what i’m thinking; they teach it to you in law school, then they unteach it from you in practice, yes?

    KEvron

  17. I’ll lose sleep tonight because I don’t measure up to the standards of the “masked complainer”.

    TG..as it exists, I can’t recall a single comment you have ever made that even purports to offer a positive solution for anything. You are the anti-activist. You offer nothing and criticize everything.

    You are the unamusing personification of Monte Python’s “argument” sketch.

    RH: Oh look, this isn’t even an argument.
    TG: Yes it is.
    RH: No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.
    TG: No it isn’t.
    RH: It is!
    TG: It is not.
    RH: Look, you just contradicted me.
    TG: I did not.
    RH: Oh you did!!
    TG: No, no, no.
    RH: You did just then.
    TG: Nonsense!
    RH: Oh, this is futile!
    TG: No it isn’t.
    RH: I came here for a good argument.
    TG: No you didn’t; no, you came here for an argument.
    RH: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
    TG: It can be.
    RH: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    TG: No it isn’t.
    RH: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction.
    TG: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
    RH: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’
    TG: Yes it is!
    RH: No it isn’t!
    TG: Yes it is!
    RH: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
    (short pause)

    TG: No it isn’t.
    RH: It is.
    TG: Not at all.

    RH: Oh I’ve had enough of this.
    TG: No you haven’t.

    Problem is.. your commentary isn’t even that enlightening.

  18. ..and KR pipes up from the children’s table. Go back and drink your kool-aid KR.

  19. that python bit has been done to death, rob, but thanks anyway for the umpteenth. i appreciate how you’ve made it a little less funny for me now.

    yes, rob. kool-aid. that’ll show me. *yawn*

    i’m genuinely curious about the s&d.

    KEvron

  20. “i’m genuinely curious about the s&d.”

    the crack about unlearning wasn’t aimed at you, but the industry.

    KEvron

  21. Ti-Guy

    I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time with me, Rob. but there’s nothing I can do. You expect me to first accept the premises on which you base your opinions and then to argue within those parameters exclusively.

    For example, you expect to accept that no one knows what’s causing global warming (if it’s occuring at all) or where it will lead or that the Canadian public health system is in a dire crisis and needs to be reformed drastically. And,, on top of that, you don’t provide me with any evidence that would persuade me to accept that these situations are actually true.

  22. While I concede I’m not an expert on global warming (and I’m betting that you’re not either), I tend to believe the models upon which the theory is based – namely, that man-made co2 is increasing world temperature.

    What I don’t know – and no one knows as far as I can understand, is how much it effects global temperatures, and what the result of that will be.

    There was a time, some 55 million years ago, when temperatures in the polar regions averagted 20C.. and there was abundant plant life, rainfall increased and mammals flourished. My question, which I’ve tried to look into, is how does this correlate with the suggestion that we will have widespread famine from drought? Frankly, I don’t know – but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of dispassionate information out there. We have anecdotal information in Australia, for example, and elsewhere, but, near as I understand from reading about the paleocene thermal maximum, rainfall actually increased globally, to such exent that the arctic ocean became infused with fresh water to such extent that it allowed it to, yes, freeze…

    From there, I then ask, assuming that for a whole lot of reasons (not just global warming) it’s a good idea to reduce carbon emission, well, is there a better way to accomplish that goal than increasing the tax burden on an already sluggish economy?

    ie) greater funding for alternative energy projects, and carbon capture and reduction technology.

    Somehow, I have a hard time feeling guilty for saying, “uh, how about some dispassionate and objective media disclosure regarding the issue that doesn’t include a photograph of a polar bear.”

    Now regarding health care, uh, I’ve reviewed the government budgetary information on increased costs of health care and the increased proportion of tax dollars which are going to health care every year. I am cognizant of the difficulties that average citizens are having in Canada finding a family physician (some 50% of Canadians do not have a family doctor). I am aware of the waiting lines that have a direct adverse impact on outcomes for care. If you believe that these issues are not “real”, I would be curious, as I think they are almost common knowledge.. and there is not suggestion that any demographic shift is going to do anything in the next decades but make those problems worse.

    So – I guess I get back to my first point – which is we have a complex problem and, like this series of posts, we have more positional bickering, than productive discussion, a la, “So, TG – what do you think could be done to improve our current health care system?”

  23. Ti-Guy

    My question, which I’ve tried to look into, is how does this correlate with the suggestion that we will have widespread famine from drought?

    That question has been met with the explanation that the *speed* of climate change is the danger here.

    Have you read anything on this issue? That’s pretty basic.

    If you believe that these issues are not “real”, I would be curious, as I think they are almost common knowledge.. and there is not suggestion that any demographic shift is going to do anything in the next decades but make those problems worse.

    That’s not what I believe. I do believe they can be addressed within the goals of the Canada Health Act and I refuse to discuss them with anyone who is not committed to them. I also refuse to discuss it at a time North America is flooded by propaganda emanating from that loony bin to the south of us.

    and, like this series of posts, we have more positional bickering, than productive discussion

    These posts are not invitations to discuss the reform of Canadian health care. They’re highlighting what’s going on in the US.

    You really need to focus. I’ve told you that before.

  24. sapphireandsteel

    You guys better watch it. Van Loan has his eyes on you.

    http://bit.ly/cKKiN

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