Now, love him or hate him, but it’s damnably hard to portray Newt (Newt!) as part of one of the vast, globe spanning librocommiefascist conspiracies. The guy may have some goofy sounding ideas, but who knows? In thirty years time, maybe it’ll turn out that Newt was spot on, and simply far ahead of his time. In any case, it’s unlikely in the extreme that Newt has bee co-opted to the librocommiefascist side, and for this, and many other reasons, “Death Panel 1.0” was ultimately found wanting.

But the vacuum had to be filled! There had to be something that could be used to vilify and demonize this new legislation! And, as with most things conservative/republican, whether it was true or not was never even a consideration.

Ultimately, the talking heads settled on what we’ll call “Death Panel 2.0” which is the independent payment advisory board (iPAB for short).

What this group does is…they collect stats on how much various treatments cost, and how effective they are. Over time then, they wind up with a growing, robust database that’s filled with useful information.

They use this useful information to advise (not dictate) to the payment negotiation teams about what treatments seem to be most cost effective, so that the payment negotiation teams can decide what treatments ultimately get covered, and what to pay the doctors performing them.

A couple of big caveats here:
1) The iPab has no enforcement capability…they can only make recommendations.

2) IF they make a recommendation to cover/not cover a given procedure, they cannot “only” use their own data to support the recommendation. Other sources must be included.

3) Given that the new health care law fully involves the free market, if I’m a patient, and I want a procedure that’s not covered, there’s nothing to stop me from going out and getting a supplemental policy to cover the thing I want done.

4) Even if no such supplemental policy exists, there’s nothing to stop me from insisting on the procedure anyway, and paying for it out of pocket.

As with “Death Panel 1.0,” the more deeply you peer into the depths of “Death Panel 2.0,” the less death-paneleyness there seems to be, and this is no great shock, because at the end of the day, we all know the game.

It is not now, and was never about Death Panels in the health care law.

It is not now, and was never about the Individual Mandate and whether or not it’s “The Death of Freedom!”

What it’s about is what it’s been about since the day Obama was sworn into office.

On that day, Republicans vowed that he would be a one term president.

On that day, Republicans vowed to fight against everything he proposed, even if his proposals were things they had formerly had no problems supporting.

They have been good to their word.

So that’s the whole, sordid story. That’s why we keep hearing about those ghastly Death Panels (either version, and sometimes both at once). That’s why we heard conservatives screaming from the mountaintops when the law was passed via Reconciliation (the same process used to pass the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, by the way).

That’s why, once the law was in effect, we heard yet more screaming from the right that there was no way SCOTUS would ever allow the mandate to stand, and of course, when it did, we immediately heard the conspiracy theories about how Roberts must have been co-opted by the leftists, and the latest meme, the tax increases that the law brings about (supposedly the largest in history…a claim that’s also already been debunked, and you can read the SCOTUS decision here).

And there you have it.

If you like, I’ll pour you a glass of lemonade, and we can sit together on my front porch while we await the arrival of the conservative stalwart who will point out the page number in the new law where the death panels are defined, though as I said earlier, I’m thinking we’ll be here a while.

Join me?


Update 1: It appears that Fox “News” got angry that its own footage was used to show how utterly absurd its own arguments against health care reform are, and they’ve been purging youtube accounts that make use of it. No matter. I removed the busted link and replaced it.

I also found this little gem of an article…it seems that the 2003 health care reform attempt (supported by R’s) contained provisions which they later (conveniently) redefined as “Death Panels.” Neat trick, huh?

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