Was Sarah Palin right about death panels in Obamacare? Howard Dean, and some other Democrats, seem to think so.
Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, took a lot of flak four years ago for suggesting that government-imposed healthcare rationing by what she deemed death panels would be one likely outcome of the Affordable Care Act. And while Palin and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean couldn’t be more opposite on the political spectrum, he apparently agrees with her now.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Dean — who is also a medical doctor — called for abolishing what Palin originally insisted was a death panel. “One major problem [with Obamacare] is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them. There does have to be control of costs in our health-care system. However, rate setting — the essential mechanism of the IPAB — has a 40-year track record of failure… getting rid of the IPAB is something Democrats and Republicans ought to agree on.”
Dean has been joined by other prominent Democrats such as Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Reps. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) in supporting the complete repeal of the cost-cutting panel. All these lawmakers are up for reelection in 2014. So far, 22 elected Democrats on the federal level have called for IPAB repeal, which Mother Jones calls giving in to “fear-mongering” and “a figment of [Palin's] imagination.”
According to Investors Business Daily, Dr. Donald Berwick, the former head of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, previously acknowledged that “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”
In June 2012, Sarah Palin wrote this on her Facebook page about the 15-member board appointed by the president. “Though I was called a liar for calling it like it is, many of these accusers finally saw that Obamacare did in fact create a panel of faceless bureaucrats who have the power to make life and death decisions about health care funding. It’s called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and its purpose all along has been to ‘keep costs down’ by actually denying care via price controls and typically inefficient bureaucracy. This subjective rationing of care is what I was writing about in that first post [in August 2009].”
Are you surprised that Howard Dean and Sarah Palin seem to be on the same page in their opposition to what Palin and other Obamacare foes called death panels?
[top image via Shutterstock]