It was only a year ago that Sarah Palin invented out of whole cloth the concept of "death panels" and accused Congress of inserting them into the health care bill. Though they have been at this point thoroughly debunked as a way for Medicare to pay for doctors to talk patients through their options on end-of-life care before they are at the end of their lives, the concept that the government will decide which seniors should live and which should die apparently continues to hold resonance for easily-frightened elderly people, Fox News viewers and Fox News legal contributor and former Pataki appointee Peter Johnson, Jr.
. That's the only explanation for Johnson's resurrection of death panels today in order to attack the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick.
Berwick, the new Republican whipping boy for health care reform
, once expressed admiration for the British system because of its ability to provide universal coverage and improve care. Obviously, that means he plans to use his new position to kill off American's senior citizens.
Johnson criticizes Berwick's admiration for what the National Health Service offers its citizens (even though he acknowledged its "warts") on the basis that his admiration will lead him to institute it in America -- which is, of course, outside of the scope of Berwick's job at CMS -- and then conflates Palin's death panels with the idea that the British just let old people die.
When you say that and when people die before they should in Great Britain and when they die at higher rates in terms of cancer and die of higher rates of heart attacks in hospital, isn't that, in effect, a death panel?
Naturally, Fox News didn't bother to check his facts, but TPM did. In fact, Americans have a higher rate of mortality for cancer than Britons do, and Americans have a higher rate of mortality from heart attacks than Britons do. America has the best health care system in the world, people. Never forget!
In the mean time, watch the video below.