The very real threat of government health care rationing.
When Sarah Palin warned that Obamacare could lead to medical rationing and “death panels,” supporters were outraged. Alarmism! they roared. A lie! Right-wing propaganda! Alas for supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Palin’s provocative sound bite was at least partly grounded in reality—which is why the term entered the political lexicon.
Now, however, some are seeking to wield the term against conservatives. Case in point: The Arizona legislature recently cut its Medicaid budget because the state is in dire financial straits—a move approved by the Obama administration. When the cuts led to canceling Medicaid coverage for organ transplant surgeries, and a potential organ recipient died, death panel claims suddenly became all the fashion. For example, CBS’s HealthWatch opined:
There is a certain irony here. During last year’s federal battle over President Obama’s health care legislation, some Republicans claimed his program promoted “death panels” which they seemed to suggest would involve government bureaucrats deciding who lives and who dies. The health care bill did include language which paid doctors to offer end-of-life counseling. That was eventually removed. Facing a tough budget situation, however, Arizona has instituted what critics say is much closer to these so-called “death panels” than anything that ever appeared in the federal government’s health care legislation.