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OMG! The Death Panels!

In case you haven’t heard, the latest right-wing lie about health care reform is courtesy of that master of the facts, Sarah Palin:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, 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. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

I sigh every time I have to say this, because really, it should be obvious, but there are no "death panels." If you don’t believe me, maybe PolitiFact’s "pants on fire" rating of this lie will convince you:

We have read all 1,000-plus pages of the Democratic bill and examined versions in various committees. There is no panel in any version of the health care bills in Congress that judges a person’s "level of productivity in society" to determine whether they are "worthy" of health care.

Of course, the inconvenient fact that this smear is untrue is not going to stop the likes of Newt Gingrich or Glenn Beck, both of whom apparently believe this ridiculous attack.

It’s amazing to me that anyone would actually believe this stuff. As Senator Claire McCaskill said at her town hall this morning, which I watched on CNN, "This is America."

We don’t have "death panels" in America, or any of the ridiculous stuff that the right wing thinks is in the health care bill. The right may disagree with health reform, and they may desperately want to keep the status quo, but this is over the top, and it hurts their cause. Nobody believes it.

(also posted at the NOW! blog)

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.