Anti – “Obamacare” Dirty Tricks With Deadly Consequences
Well, they’re back at it – those dirty tricksters who send bogus emails scaring the bejesus out of old folks with stories of government “death panels” supposedly authorized under “Obamacare” to deny Medicare patients coverage for life-saving tests and procedures.
Only now they’re calling them “ethics panels” – adding a new spin with a term that appears nowhere in the recently-confirmed Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) or in any Medicare regulation or other document. In other words, they don’t exist.
Here’s what FactCheck.org – a respected project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania – has to say about these claims in their post entitled “Death Panels” Redux.
“The frightening claims in this email about losing control of one’s health care decisions have caused consternation among some of our readership — particularly the fear of losing all health care after age 75. But fear not, this email is bunkum…
“While this cock-and-bull story has spread well beyond its origin in Tennessee, there is no validity to the claims it makes and readers should feel free to purge it from their inboxes.”
FactCheck.org has a balanced record of disproving unfounded claims by both the Romney and Obama campaigns, so their reporting on this is unlikely to be driven or influenced by partisan politics (unlike those sending these scare-mails).
It should also be noted that similar bogus horror stories are being circulated by opponents of Obamacare with reputed locales in other states across America – often citing real hospitals and even quoting real doctors (who subsequently deny ever saying what they’re quoted as saying).
They make it sound very convincing, very real. It isn’t.
In short, “ethics panels” simply don’t exist – never have and never will, at least not under anything currently authorized by Obamacare.
But that won’t stop the desperate ideologues behind these scare-mails from preying on the fears of the elderly.
You might be tempted to give them a pass, as many of the people who pass along these emails in chain-letter fashion actually believe this nonsense.
But those who originate them know better. They know there’s no such thing as “ethics panels” in Obamacare, but they spread this disinformation anyway because they know it’ll scare older people into voting against Obama out of misplaced fear based on this total fabrication. It’s a classic example of the “Big Lie” – the fundamental tool of all propaganda – in action.
Lies designed for political gain can have real human consequences that extend well beyond the ballot box.
We’ll never know how many elders are literally scared to death by this stuff, but it’s clear it perpetuates practices that actually harm them. One example is discussed in “Death-By-ICU: End-of-Life Care in America“. In that free report, I discuss how shameless grandstanding about “death panels” prevented the ACA from the perfectly rational – and long overdue – measure of paying doctors for taking the time to discuss end-of-life options with their dying patients and their families.
So instead of being able to make fully informed end-of-life choices, millions of Americans end up on life support in ICUs that they unanimously reject when given the benefit of advance information about what that kind of “living” actually entails.
This is as sad – and sadistic – an example as I can imagine of politics being both cruel and heartless. It’s one thing to gin up fears you know are baseless about political opponents; both parties do it all the time. It’s another thing altogether when you know these lies about Obamacare will cause those who believe them untold harm and even a more premature and painful death.
A Sadistic Charade
That’s the sick irony with this “Obamacare” charade. The victims here aren’t the hypothetical victims of imaginary “death panels” – or imaginary “ethics panels” – but the very real human beings, Americans all, who’ll suffer needlessly because of the falsehood about death panels that’s deprived them of much-needed end-of-life counseling – not by bureaucrats, but by their doctors.
And the pols and political talking heads who espouse this dangerous anti-Obamacare propaganda have neither the intellectual capacity nor the basic integrity to reject it as a step too far. Nothing is more imortant to these shrill supplicants – these untrue believers – than recapturing power. Nothing.
And the hapless souls who watch and listen to their breathless and dire forebodings become unwitting pawns in passing along their baseless propaganda – spreading it like the virus of hate that propels it.
It’s sad, pitiful, and despicable – all at the same time.
If you know an older American – or have an elder in your immediate or extended family – do them an immense favor and disabuse them of these lies.
They don’t need to be further burdened by baseless fears and anxiety that will only exacerbate whatever real medical conditions they may have.
And while you’re at it, read “Death-by-ICU” – it’s only 20-plus pages – and share the resource links in the report with those you know who may be facing these crucial choices in the near future.
You might also send them to this report of what Obamacare actually DOES provide for Medicare recipients. They’ll see that far from the bogus scare tactics, it’s got much by way of good news in it for them.
Help them to be proactive and not merely recoil in fear with every anti-Obamacare scare-mail they receive.
And make sure they know where the “Delete” button for their email is located.
Finally, if you or someone you know has been a victim of this dirty political trick, share your experience by commenting below.
This article is provided for informational and educational purposes only.
It does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied upon as such.