Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sarah Palin Was Right #22: CATO's Alan Reynolds on Death Panels

by Lisa Graas
When the Democrats tell you there are 'no death panels' in their healthcare reform legislation, know this. They are lying to you. Alan Reynolds, writing for the Cato Institute, explained in an article today -- "Death Panels? Sarah Palin Was Right."
How could anyone believe Palin’s sensible comment about rationing was, in reality, a senseless fear of counseling? To say so was no mistake; it was an oft-repeated big lie.
Reynolds explains how they lied and to what extent they lied. He also describes the very real dangers of the Democrats' healthcare agenda succinctly:
Pending health care bills would make......government-mandated scarcity of health care much worse. There would be massive shifting of money away from Medicare toward Medicaid. But the extra Medicaid money would be spread around more thinly. States would cut benefits to the poor in order to accommodate millions of new, less-poor people lured into Medicaid, at least half of whom (7 or 8 million by my estimate) currently have employer-provided health insurance.

The Senate health bill supposedly intends to slash Medicare payment rates for physicians by 21% next year and more in future years, with permanent reductions in payments to other medical services too. It would also establish an Independent Payment Advisory Board which would be empowered to make deeper cuts which Congress could reject only with considerable difficulty. If that’s not quite a “death panel” it would surely not be pro-life in its impact.

The Congressional Budget Office says, “It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate could be achieved, and if so, whether it would . . . reduce access to care or diminish the quality of care.”

Actually, it’s clear enough that the proposed Medicare cuts won’t be achieved, but that efforts in that direction will nonetheless reduce access to care and diminish its quality. The government can’t boost demand and cut prices without creating excess demand. And that, in turn, means rationing by longer waiting lines and by panels (rationing boards) making life-or death decisions for other people.

As Sarah Palin predicted, “Government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course.”
For the record, I'm in that group Palin calls "the sick" because I am uninsured and have chronic Lyme Disease. My elderly mother is on Medicare and I have two disabled brothers on Medicaid. I've researched this at length as it affects my family in astronomical proportions and I have found that Sarah Palin has this right. Not only are 'death panels' in this legislation, the Democrats want to make them permanent. Yes, 'death panels' can be a scary term, but Palin used hyperbole to call attention to these 'panels' that will decide who lives and who dies. I, for one, appreciate straight talk, particularly on such an incredibly serious issue.

The left doesn't generally deny that there is rationing. They merely object to the term 'death panels' because it's 'scary' and, as Reynolds explained, they aver that it has to do with the end-of-life counseling, not the rationing many of them admit will occur. In regard to this rationing, the only argument the left seems to be able to come up with is that "insurance companies do it, too". This is rather like claiming that gun shops deny my right to own a gun because they charge me for the guns. It exhibits a profound ignorance of, or complacency toward, the rights delineated in our Constitution and how they are preserved. Our Constitution doesn't restrict gun shops and insurance companies. It does restrict our federal government.

Government denial of healthcare is unConstitutional because we have a "right" to it. If we have a "right" to something, does it mean government must provide it? Conservatives say no. Liberals say yes, IF you're talking about healthcare. If you're talking about guns, though, they'll object.....strongly.

Our right to life includes our right to health care, and if government rations care, it violates our right to healthcare. It really is a very simple thing to understand if you take the time to understand the difference between a "right" and an "entitlement". Unfortunately, most people don't have the time or the patience to study the jurisprudence on this, nor the intentions of the Founding Fathers. It's also unfortunate for America that the left doesn't interpret the Constitution with any constraint. They apparently just make it up as they go along based on whatever feels good at the moment and how much money/votes they can get.

America, there's never been a more important time to stand up for life. I urge you to stand with Sarah Palin on this. She's right on target and we are in deep, deep trouble as a nation if this stands.

- Lisa

Lisa Graas is editor of the Palin Twibe Blog

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