Palin: “I Won’t Back Off” on Death Panels


Politifact.com might have named Governor Sarah Palin’s infamous “death panels” commentary their “Lie of the Year” (even though Palin was right and President Barack Obama has told far more deserving whoppers), but that hasn’t scared her away from the subject.  To the contrary, yesterday she again sounded the alarm on government rationing of healthcare on Sean Hannity’s radio show.

Part 2 is available here; thanks to GOP 12 for transcribing the relevant passage:

If the health care bill goes the way Obama wants it, we’re gonna have something very much like foreign countries’ systems of health care like the British, and it’s the American people – if we have our health care paid for by the bureaucracy, by government – depending on our health condition, depending on our age – we’re gonna be subject to bureaucrats deciding, panels and commissions deciding – just like they do overseas – will be worthy of receiving the health care that government is going to provide. So that is the death panel that I referred to, and I won’t back off on criticizing that aspect of the health care bill.

Palin’s original statement never claimed there was some explicit “death panel” provision in ObamaCare (although she did follow up with substantive concerns about certain language in the bill); she was concerned that nationalizing American healthcare would eventually lead to rationing services, with a predictable bias in favor of the most productive and least expensive patients.

She was right then, and she’s right now: we now know that the current legislation includes an “Independent Payment Advisory Board” responsible for setting priorities in healthcare spending, which Senate Democrats have insulated with a rule mandating that future Congresses can only repeal it by a supermajority vote.

More importantly, socialist schemes like this, in which the government is to assume combined costs previously assumed by many separate payers, cannot help but lead to rationing. The tremendous costs will predictably exceed government projections, creating quite a strain when added not only to that same government’s legitimate expenses (national defense, basic infrastructure), but also to liberals’ never-ending wish list of current and future government endeavors (federal control of education, stimulus bills that aren’t big enough, amnesty for illegal immigrants, cap & trade…need I go on?).  To prolong the boondoggle’s stability, new ways to cut costs will regularly have to be found, and allocating resources to those who are the easiest and cheapest to treat, as well as those who will be the most socially productive for the longest period of time, is the most obvious.

ObamaCare supporters’ campaign to shut Palin up and their efforts to prevent future legislatures from changing the law reveals how the Democrats’ progressive ideology is really anti-democratic. To progressives, the voters’ participation in the democratic process is basically limited to choosing which goals government should pursue—health care for all, equality, peace, clean air, etc.  How to achieve those goals, on the other hand, is the domain of administrators and “experts,” and the ignorant, biased people cannot be trusted with the details.  This mindset is perfectly encapsulated in President Woodrow Wilson’s admission that I believe in the people: in their honesty and sincerity and sagacity; but I do not believe in them as my governors.”

Not only is Sarah Palin’s “Lie of the Year” not a lie, but it truthfully calls attention to just what is at stake in the battle over health care: individual freedom, fiscal sanity, the sanctity of human life, and even self-government itself.

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Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also blogs at the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.



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