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Issue Analysis

    A Liberal Inadvertently Reveals Death Panels Again, Chapter 5,621,980

    I'm not normally in the habit of rewarding leftist blogs with links or mentions that drive up their traffic, but today I can't resist.

    Here in Oregon, owing to the large population of liberal voters in our urban centers, one of the most followed blogs is Blue Oregon. Think of Blue Oregon as a sort of ThinkProgress on a state level.

    We've all noticed that, every once in a while, someone who breathlessly defends Obamacare will inadvertently let slip the existence of the much maligned death panels. For instance:

    Cynthia Tucker, the Maureen Dowd of the south, in her column today admits that death panels will be fact of life under Obamacare.

    This morning, my colleague Jay Bookman had a very thoughtful post on why rationing health care — “death panels,” if you will — is quite necessary. I wrote on a similar subject in my Sunday column.

    If we keeping spending our health care dollars disproportionately on the elderly, we will have little left to spend on children. That makes for an upside-down society that cannot thrive for long.

    And who can forget Paul Krugman's gaffe on the subject, noted at Newsbusters:

    Although he was likely taking a swipe at former governor Sarah Palin with the reference, Paul Krugman on Sunday recommended "death panels" as a means of helping to balance the federal budget.

    In a Roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week," the New York Times columnist said of what recently came out of the President's deficit commission, "Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes"

    Now, Blue Oregon is typically very careful to avoid acknowledgement of death panels, because Sarah Palin still makes for a great target, and pitting the GOP as sowing hysteria and fear is a running theme throughout much of their content.

    Imagine my surprise, then, when one of the co-founders of the blog posted this [emphasis added]:

    Most prognosticators seem to think that at least part of the Affordable Care Act will be struck down by the Supreme Court. Maybe I'm too much the optimist, but I think there's a reasonable chance that Justice Anthony Kennedy will respect a century of precedent on the commerce clause. But, I'm no lawyer.

    In any case, Eugene's Register-Guard does an admirable job of summing up the impact on Oregon's efforts to transform health care delivery should the Supremes kill the ACA. In short - we might lose some critical funding (especially if the whole law is struck down), but the central reform will stay in place.

    Oregon already has trimmed more than $12 billion in Medicaid costs over the last 15 years through efficient management and prioritization of services. Under the state’s health care transformation, the state is working with local communities to establish coordinated care organizations, or CCOs, that will work to reduce expensive hospital stays and emergency room visits by focusing on preventive care, disease management and early intervention.

    Prioritization of services. Exactly how will the government prioritize services, and who gets to make the decision? This gets right to the heart of the opposition to government run health care. Never mind the cost or the fundamental transformation of America for a moment. Why does an individual need intervention into their relationship with his or her doctor? When has government intervention EVER made commerce less costly and more efficient? Aren't market forces all that are needed to help the physician and patient prioritize services on their own and significantly drive down costs?

    Who exactly is it, again, that wants to push granny off a cliff?

    1 comments
    Janie Shimer
    06/21/2012

    I don't understand how the most illogical argument in favor of Obamacare is still believed by those who support the left. Has 40 years of conditioning by CBS and NBC really been this effective? Can one tell a liberal that red is blue and will he believe it if it comes from the left? Definitely yes. It is mindboggling.

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