Bioethicist and presidential adviser Ezekiel Emanuel today called talk of "death panels" by Sarah Palin and others "an absolute outrage."
"It's an absolute outrage that you would take, first of all, a provision written in the bill," Emanuel told ABC News, "and turn it into the suggestion that we're going to have euthanasia boards -- that's a complete misreading of what's there. It's just trying to scare people."
In a piece defending her use of the phrase "death panels," Palin used Emanuel's writings as proof that the administration would give care based on who is most productive in society.
"There's no basis for that claim either in any of my writings or the legislation. It has no grounds in reality. It's surreal and Orwellian, the idea that this legislation or my writings suggest that her son Trig shouldn't get health care," he said. He said he "abhors" people like Palin "cavalierly distorting those writings and the work that I've done over 25 years to help improve medical care in America for vulnerable people who often have no voice."
He added that in the papers in question, he was analyzing arguments for such things as rationing scarce health care resources, but not in any way endorsing them.
Emanuel, who is the brother of President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, has been an opponent of euthanasia for years.