Why the death panel line strikes a nerve
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:21 AM
I don't know how many people actually believe the words "death panel" appear in any version of health-care reform legislation floating around the corridors of Capitol Hill.
But proponents of the House and/or Obama administration plan protest too much when they say nothing they've proposed would lead to such panels. Even Evan Thomas highlights the issue in his Newsweek cover story.
The idea that we might ration health care to seniors (or anyone else)
is political anathema. Politicians do not dare breathe the R word, lest
they be accused—however wrongly—of trying to pull the plug on Grandma.
But the need to spend less money on the elderly at the end of life is
the elephant in the room in the health-reform debate. Everyone sees it
but no one wants to talk about it.
If you want to cut health-care costs, you have to cut services. How will you do it? If you don't offer specifics, it's easier to believe you're open to the possibility of "death panels."
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