When Sarah Palin criticized plans for Obamacare by saying that costs would be controlled by unethical "death panels" that would ration care based on the panels' estimate of an individual's value to society, she was criticized by Democrats in Congress, the White House and in all the liberal media, talk shows and endless comedy sketches.
No, there would never be such a horrific thing as death panels, we were told. That was just Republicans trying to scare people away from the grand socialist future where everyone would receive free high-quality health care. Politifact even dubbed Palin's observation the "lie of the year" in 2009.
Naturally, Palin was 100 percent right in her assessment of how Obamacare would work, and now a former Obama adviser has admitted it in the New York Times.
The original blog post by Palin that sent liberals over the edge with indignation read:
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.
Health care by definition involves life and death decisions. Human rights and human dignity must be at the center of any health care discussion.
In a column a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times, former Obama adviser Steven Rattner wrote, "We need death panels. Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget."
It still hasn't sunk in with Obama supporters, who seem oblivious to the higher medical costs, increased labor costs, consumer inflation and growing tax burden Obamacare is imposing even before it ever treats anyone.
That's the way socialized medicine works. It cannot increase efficiency as its chief ability is the adding of layers of regulation and bureaucracy. Cost-reducing innovation is out of the question for the same reason.
The only way to control costs in socialized medicine then is to withhold care, and the first to go untreated will be those who cost the most to treat. Under Obamacare, the mechanism for determining who lives or dies is called the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
During the debates over Obamacare, conservatives were quick to cite countries like Canada, New Zealand and Australia as examples of countries where care is rationed. They were the very countries liberals were telling us we had to emulate, but somehow any "rationing" magically disappeared in liberals' portrayals of these medical wonderlands.
Rattner points to those same countries as models for how he feels we should limit health care. "We may shrink from such stomach-wrenching choices, but they are inescapable," he writes.
To call the Independent Payment Advisory Board a "death panel" is not an exaggeration in any way, because that is exactly what the board will be deciding on a regular basis. It may not literally haul critical patients before a board of wizened bean counters, but that will be its effect as it develops an entire bureaucracy devoted to deciding if you or your loved one are worth allowing to live.
It's one of many lies we were told about Obamacare, but it may be the most insidiously evil in intent.