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Newt Gingrich Defends Palin’s “Death Panel” Fear-Mongering

by @ 3:47 pm on August 9, 2009. Filed under Health Care Reform, Newt Gingrich, Politics, Sarah Palin

On today’s This Week, Newt Gingrich repeated Sarah Palin’s paranoia-fueled rant about the health care bill currently before Congress creating “death panels” that will decide everyone’s fate:

Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean went at it on health care this morning on This Week. Especially over Sarah Palin’s claim that Obama’s health care plan will create “death panels” that would encourage euthanasia.

“Communal standards historically is a very dangerous concept,” Gingrich told me.

“You are asking us to trust turning power over to the government, when there are clearly people in American who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective standards.”

Here’s the video:

There’s been much discussion of this issue over the past day, and one conservative blogger has put forward a defense of Palin’s rhetoric:

These critics, however, didn’t take the time to find out to what Palin was referring when she used the term “level of productivity in society” as being the basis for determining access to medical care. If the critics, who hold themselves in the highest of intellectual esteem, had bothered to do something other than react, they would have realized that the approach to health care to which Palin was referring was none other than that espoused by key Obama health care adviser Dr. Ezekial Emanuel (brother of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel).

The article in which Dr. Emanuel puts forth his approach is “Principles for Allocation of Scarce Medical Interventions,” published on January 31, 2009. A full copy is embedded below. Read it, particularly the section beginning at page 6 of the embed (page 428 in the original) at which Dr. Emanuel sets forth the principles of “The Complete Lives System.”

As Jazz Shaw points, out though, this isn’t exactly relevant to the debate before the country today:

It’s certainly an eye opening article, and I’m hardly one to stand here defending the choice of Ezekial Emanuel for his current position. But there’s one teeny, tiny point which Smitty is missing in his criticism of Right Wing Nuthouse’s proprietor. Rick – along with the rest of us – are not talking about random editorials published by public officials. We’re talking about legislation, either extant or proposed, which has shown up in committee on the floor of the House and/or Senate. And these so called “Death Panels” are simply not there.

Kathleen Sebelius could pen a dozen op-eds extolling the positive health virtues of feasting on the writhing flesh of living puppies, and we could all certainly react in horror. But until somebody actually writes the Filleted Puppy Diet into a health care reform bill, it’s rather pointless to begin screaming about it and accusing Obama of puppycide. Just call Dr. Emanuel an idiot and move along.

In other words, talk about the bill that’s actually before Congress not some direct-mail authors paranoid idea of the future.

I will say, though, that “Death Panel” would be a cool name for a rock band, or a game show

3 Responses to “Newt Gingrich Defends Palin’s “Death Panel” Fear-Mongering”

  1. Sam says:

    Do you remember the TARP bail-out bill, how the funds were supposed to be limited to banks and financial institutions? What happened? Auto makers got in trouble, and all of a sudden, they were given TARP funds. Do you remember how RICO was supposed to be limited to Mob-controlled organizations. It took a Supreme Court ruling for it not to be applied to anti-abortion protestors.

    What legislation purportedly says and what it accomplishes are often two different things.

    Palin was engaging in hyperbole when she used the term “death panel.” Hyperbole has a long and storied tradition in political debate; I have been extremely surprised by how literal-minded some persons are.

    No, the bill does not mention “death panels,” but it will allow the communal standards for health care, which–as we have seen in Canada and the U.K.–lead to under-treatment for the aged.

  2. Mike Licht says:

    Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel hasn’t told OMB anything about Advance Care that Newt Gingrich hasn’t proposed himself.

    See:

    http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/20317-newt-gingrich-advance-directive-advocate/

  3. Here’s what Sarah Palin Actually *said* about “Death Panels”…

    OK.  So Obama has created the talking point over the past several days that has led many, even many the right, to disparage Sarah Palin’s “death panels” comment as being over-the-top, inaccurate, etc. 
    As I’ve discussed in sev…

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