At a Rochester (MN) Tea Party Patriot meeting on September 20, 2012, MNCD1 Republican candidate Allen Quist claimed that "bureaucratic panels" created under the Affordable Care Act would foster euthanasia.
A statement Saturday by Republican vice presidential candidate and Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan at a Florida Town Hall echoes this meme.
Think Progress's Igor Volsky reports in Paul Ryan Tells Florida Seniors That Obamacare Includes Death Panels that the Wisconsin politician revived PolitiFact 2009′s Lie of the Year: that the legislation would create bureaucratic "death panels." Here's the exchange from the Florida Town Hall:
QUESTION: We love you Paul. But I’m getting long in years. Will you address the death panels that we’re going to have?
RYAN: The death panels, well! That’s not the word I’d choose to use to describe it. It’s actually called. It’s actually called, so in Medicare, what I refer to as this board of 15 bureaucrats. It’s called the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It sounds fairly innocuous.
Ryan isn't alone in this. In June, Sarah Palin posted on Facebook (via Washington Post):
“I stand by everything I wrote in that warning to my fellow Americans”
— Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R), in a Facebook post titled “‘Death Panel’ Three Years Later’
It's still horse hockey. The Washington Post's Fact Checker gave the new posting "Four Pinocchios" the rating for "Whoppers" in the June 27, 2012, Sarah Palin, ‘Death Panels’ and ‘Obamacare.' Bluestem will get back to that in bit.
In Minnesota, Allen Quist is sharing this bull clap as he campaigns against incumbent MNCD1 congressman Tim Walz.
While Congressman Walz was in Washington doing his job in the House, Allen Quist was hanging with other Republican candidates at a Rochester Tea Party Patriots (so not partisan). In audio posted in three parts to a Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor tracker's Youtube account, Quist responded to a question about the Affordable Care Act for several minutes, then said:
So, if we allow this bill to go into effect, we have lost our country. We cannot let that happen. And I hate to say it, but I've only scratched the surface about how bad it is.
You want to talk about euthanasia? Well, the way it works folks, there will be bureaucratic panels who will define whether you can be treated or whether you can't. And the medical community, the doctors and the nurses, will be prohibited by law from treating you if you don't meet the guidelines of the bureaucratic panel.
It's all about rationing, it's all about control, it's all about one part and one ideology that is all about keeping itself in power. I assure you it's not not about the welfare, the well-being of the United States of America or its citizens. Am I making myself clear?
Bluestem has pulled the audio in the clip below:
Checking the facts about the Independent Payment Advisory Board
As both Think Progress and the Washington Post note, the "bureaucratic panel" at the core of the meme for Ryan and Palin is the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Bluestem believes that this is what Quist is blithering over.
The Post's Fact Checker explains:
It is important to note that the IPAB is primarily charged with helping to reduce the rate of growth in Medicare spending — a goal that both parties say they want to achieve. The IPAB, made up of 15 experts subject to Senate confirmation, would also make broader recommendations about controlling health costs.
Beginning in 2018, if the targets are not met, the board will submit a plan to the White House and Congress to achieve the necessary cuts. Congress could pass a different set of cuts or reject the IPAB recommendations with a three-fifths vote in the Senate.
In effect, the IPAB appears designed to mimic the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which was designed in the late 1980s by then Rep. Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) with the backing of the Reagan administration. That commission was empowered to make politically difficult decisions of closing military bases, thus limiting the influence of lobbyists and in effect letting Congress off the hook of making the tough decisions themselves.
The health-care law, by the way, explicitly says that the recommendations cannot lead to rationing of health care. (See page 428 of the law.) Of course, “rationing” is in the eye of beholder. (One common complaint is that rationing is not defined.) The law also limits recommendations that would change benefits, modify eligibility or increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing, such as deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments.
On the surface, the IPAB appears aimed at doing the same thing as the House Republican Medicare plan— reducing the runaway costs of Medicare, except on a faster track. (The GOP plan would not kick in until 2021, just a few years before the Medicare hospital fund begins to run dry.)
Quist is simply fearmongering. And it's not the first time Quist has offered this clap-trap to the public. The first time was back in 2009, when Quist toured the district with conservative health care go-to maven Twila Brase.
Blast from the past: Quist's 2009 ACA bashing tour
Back in 2009, Bluestem liveblogged the Mankato segment of Allen Quist's health care reform forum tour featuring Brase. Veteran Mankato Free Press political reporter Mark Fischenich wrote in Quist wary of government with health care about Brase's version of the death panels:
Brase said the bill contains provisions that will bring government agents into homes containing young children to judge the quality of the parenting. It will also set up a system where elderly people are examined to see if they’re fit enough to continue receiving health care.
“You will be weighed, watched, measured for fitness to decide when your time is over,” Brase said of the senior citizens in the audience.
Democrats and independent fact-check organizations have disputed accusations that the bill constitutes socialized medicine, that it would establish death panels, and many of the other criticisms raised by opponents. . . .
That sort of thing was branded the lie of the year in 2009. The 2012 version is a "Whopper."
Quist is still pushing it.
Quist: the taste for strange
One of the issues that Mike Parry's campaign raised during the primary was Quist's tendency to make outlandish statements, citing decades' old material about gender and an "anti-sodomy" campaign. Journalists such as Mother Jones' Tim Murphy, in If You Thought Michele Bachmann Was Out There... and GOP Candidate Comes Clean on Gay Bookstore Sting, picked up on it.
In the end, however, Parry's own more recent statements, lack of money and abrasive character cost him the primary. Apparently, the removal of Parry from the field has freed Quist's early narrative style. Quist's home in rural Norseland, rather than Burger King, looks to be the Home of the Whopper until November.
Images: Allen Quist, cartoon by Ken Avidor (above); The Washington Post's "Four Pinocchios".