Return of the "Death Panels": The Latest GOP Invective Against Health Care Reform

Republicans are back with more smear-ridden criticism of the new health care reform law’s attempt to streamline burgeoning Medicare costs, regenerating the discredited “death panel” smear. The law established the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to replace the ineffectual Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and to “recommend policies to Congress to help Medicare provide better care at lower costs.” Even though the board is “specifically prohibited by law from recommending any policies that ration care” and its members and decisions are subject to congressional approval, the GOP has targeted the board as the latest “death panel.”

WorldNetDaily dubs IPAB the “ultimate ‘death panel’” and interviews Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), who alleges that the board “is going to be able to tell you what kind of care you can get, where and when you can get it and worst of all, when you've had enough”:

However, there's a new round of alarms developing over what critics have described as the ultimate "death panel," concerns that have been raised because Barack Obama himself suggested giving an already-unaccountable board more authority.



U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, who has authored "Doctor in the House" on the issue of the nationalization of health care, said the IPAB was a bad idea when ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., proposed it before voters removed him from office, and it hasn't gotten better.

"Now for the first time ever the primary party for health care for seniors, Medicare, is going to be able to tell you what kind of care you can get, where and when you can get it and worst of all, when you've had enough," he told WND today.

"If all you're looking to do is be able to figure how to take care of old people cheaply, this is the way to go," he said. "If what you want to provide is meaningful medical care, why would you set up or embellish a system that leads to waiting lists and rationing?"

He cited Obama's recent comments, and said the board will become "the central command and control system" and the "primary tool" to limit, ration, reduce or restrict treatments.

Among other reactions was Stanley Kurtz at National Review Online, who followed Obama's vague references with an explanation.

"They're back. Rationing, death panels, socialism, all those nasty old words that helped bring Republicans victory in 2010 … They're back because of IPAB. Remember that acronym. It stands for The Independent Payment Advisory Board. IPAB is the real death panel, the true seat of rationing, and the royal road to health-care socialism.