Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama: “Death Panels” Necessary to Control Health Care Costs

President says independent panel of doctors, ethicists, and scientists needed to make “difficult” choices
by Bill Levinson

Barack Obama’s health care speech of Wednesday September 9 accused his opponents of lying, “plain and simple,” when they said his health care plan included “death panels” that would cut off health care to senior citizens, chronically ill people, and other forms of Lebensunwertes Leben (”life unworthy of life”). House Bill 3200 does not, contrary to various allegations on blogs and talk radio, call for the establishment of such panels. Barack Obama, on the other hand, did, and Sarah Palin’s allegation about “death panels” is therefore 100 percent accurate.

  • THE PRESIDENT: So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right? I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

  • Interviewer: So how do you — how do we deal with it?

  • THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It’s not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance. And that’s part of what I suspect you’ll see emerging out of the various health care conversations that are taking place on the Hill right now.

Right, Barry, a panel of doctors, scientists, and ethicists that will make “difficult decisions” outside “normal political channels.” Panels like these, Barry?

Read more: Obama: "Death Panels" Necessary to Control Health Care Costs

(from a comment on this post by Ayn Reagan)...Obama: …What we can do is make sure some of the waste that exists in the system that’s not making anyone’s mom better –that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs– that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care –that at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help. That maybe you’re better off not having the surgery but taking the painkiller. ….