Freedom Federation: Lying Right Out of the Gate

Since the launch of the Religious Right supergroup "The Freedom Federation" back in June, we have heard very little from them.  In fact, this piece from OneNewsNow is actually one of the first articles we've seen quoting any spokesperson for the organization taking a particular stand on a policy issue:

A coalition of major faith-based organizations called the Freedom Federation has been formed to affirm their commitment to protect life from the moment of conception to natural death.

The group is also committed to fighting against any healthcare reform measures that provide for tax-funded abortions or rationing of healthcare based on treating life as a mere cost-benefit commodity. Mat Staver is a spokesman for Freedom Federation.

"We know, for example, that Dr. Ezekiel Manuel, the president's healthcare advisor, recently wrote an article in January of 2009 where he talked about the so-called 'complete lives approach.' In that, he says that you need to essentially look at life and treatment as a cost-benefit analysis, meaning that you ration care away from the elderly or the ill to the younger generation," Staver points out.

"And the younger generation he's talking about [are the] adolescents and young adults, because we've invested in them and they have the opportunity to live a complete life, but you move [the care] away from infants."

First of all, I have no idea who "Dr. Ezekiel Manuel" is, but I know who Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel" is ... and I've already written about this entirely bogus claim that he wants to kill your grandmother and your child. 

As I noted before, these false claims about his views stem from a paper he co-authored entitled "Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions" [PDF] which focused on the allocation of "very scarce medical interventions such as organs and vaccines" of which there is very clearly a finite and limited number. It is not talking about limiting healthcare treatment to kill grandparents and babies, but rather focuses on how best to allocate finite medical resources.

And even then, the article was primarily an examination of the various ways currently used in deciding the allocation of such resources, looking at the pluses and minuses of the various methods which concluded by offering its own system, which it called "the complete lives system":

[T]he complete lives system combines four morally relevant principles: youngest-first, prognosis, lottery, and saving the most lives. In pandemic situations, it also allocates scarce interventions to people instrumental in realising these four principles. Importantly, it is not an algorithm, but a framework that expresses widely affirmed values: priority to the worst-off, maximising benefits, and treating people equally. To achieve a just allocation of scarce medical interventions, society must embrace the challenge of implementing a coherent multiprinciple framework rather than relying on simple principles or retreating to the status quo.

The paper was not about "rationing" care to the elderly, but an examination of how best to allocate scarce medical resources, like kidneys for transplant or medical care in a pandemic or emergency situation. But to the Right, it means that Emanuel wants to implement wholesale healthcare reform in order to deny medical care to the elderly and infants.

In short, the very first position taken by the Freedom Federation is based, not surprisingly, entirely on a lie.

They are off to a great start.