A 'Death Panel' by Any Other Name

If it were anyone else but Sarah Palin, there'd be congratulations for a brilliant coinage of "refudiate." And if it were anyone else but Sarah Palin, there'd be praise for reducing a tortuously complicated legislative phraseology into an accurate and immediately understandable catchphrase, "death panel."

There were and still are provisions for so-called "death panels" in ObamaCare, a feature which the Gray Lady doth protest far too much in her lead editorial today.

The new health care reform law makes a start at figuring this out. It sets up a new system to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of drugs, treatments and medical devices. But, after all of the cynical demagoguing about "death panels," it limits the extent to which the studies can be used to help hold down costs.

The editorial then goes on to describe an elaborate and expensive new bureaucracy which, much like the Brits' NICE, will determine what treatments and medications are best for all. Despite all this effort and expense, however, the findings will not, the Times claims, be used to influence treatment and medication decisions between doctors and patients. Anybody over in Pinch's Palace shopping for a nice bridge to Brooklyn these days?

The institute is supposed to make regular reports of its findings but is carefully restricted as to what it can say. It cannot make recommendations to Medicare or private insurers about what they should or should not cover. It cannot tell doctors what treatments to use, or recommend how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for any services.

Anyone seriously believe that insurance companies and doctors won't feel intimidated by the supposedly non-binding findings? Then why spend some $1.1 billion to tell them what's purportedly best?

Ah, but the Times answers that question in the very next paragraph:

Depending on how the White House decides to proceed, the effort could begin to change things. The law says the secretary of health and human services cannot deny Medicare coverage of services "solely" on the basis of comparative effectiveness research, but it does not prevent the use of such findings in conjunction with other factors in making coverage decisions. Those decisions generally influence what private insurers cover as well.

So, there will be a humongous panel after all. And it will influence who gets what treatment -- the British-style rationing that healthcare Czar Berwick so passionately adores. And people, especially elderly, will live in unnecessary discomfort or die an earlier than necessary death because of the panel's work.

The funny thing is that the Times writers in their zeal to deny apparently don't realize that, to any intelligent reader, they have confirmed exactly what they are trying to claim doesn't exist. And if anyone wants proof that the "death panel" philosophy is already at work in America, read this chilling account of what is happening to an unfortunate woman with advanced ovarian cancer.

No death panels? Well, perhaps not by that name, but surely a feature of ObamaCare whose existence the Left is overeager to deny.

It should be pretty obvious to anyone with common sense; it certainly is to a majority of the American public, who didn't want this in the first place and now would like ObamaCare, death panels and all, repealed or severely modified.