Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Congresswoman Renews Death Panel Fears

ELK RIVER, MN (AP) - Less than twenty-four hours before all the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take effect, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) renewed her concerns that death panels would be rung in with the new year on January 1.

A death panel is a political term that originated during the 2009 debate about federal health care legislation to cover the uninsured in the United States. The term was coined in August 2009 by Sarah Palin, the former Republican mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, when she charged that the then-proposed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would create a "death panel" of bureaucrats who would decide whether Americans—such as her elderly parents or children with Down's Syndrome were "worthy of medical care."

“Everyone is wishing everyone else a Happy New Year today,” Bachmann said as she peered out from behind a stack of bank deposit slips for the more than $1 million a year she and her Tea Party compatriot husband receive from the US Treasury as various subsidies, “but it’s not going to be a happy new year for millions of my fellow Americans who will be put to death by the provisions of Obamacare.”

Despite being repeatedly debunked by legitimate news agencies and the snopes.com online debunking service, some in the radical right wing of the Tea Bag Anarchy Party persist in spreading fears about the supposed panels.  Their fears are fanned daily by the talking heads on the Fox News Channel.

When asked for a passage in the law that expressly establishes death panels, Bachmann was unable to provide specifics.  “I think you need to talk to Tim Thompson my Chief of Staff about that one. I’ve just been repeating what Roger Ailes and the patriots at the Fox News Channel have been telling us all of us to say.”  Taking a breath from her soliloquy, Bachmann then added, “But real Americans need to pay attention. At midnight tonight Obama is going to start killing people with his death panels.”

Paul “Six Fingers” Anderson, a leader of “Death Panel Watch” an advocacy group of the Tea Bag Party in Lexington, Kentucky, was unable to provide specifics when asked who was on the panels and how often they would meet.

“We really don’t know about that.  You see Obama selects the panels in private with no Congressional oversight.  We all think he does it in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood PAC that he heads,” Anderson said.  Yet when asked where in the law the panels are mandated Anderson was vague.  “I can’t be too sure about that but they are there. Are you from the liberal media? Is that why you’re asking all these hard questions?”

The Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan arm of the United States Congress has stated unequivocally that there is no wording in the legislation that establishes or even mentions death panels.  “I don’t know where these crazy bastards came up with this nonsense,” Kitty Carlisle, chief of the Congressional office said. “I have read every word in the 900 page law at least twice and I can assure you death panels do not exist.”

Confronted with reality Bachmann remained steadfast in her warnings.  “The sad thing is that otherwise healthy Americans are going to be put to death starting tomorrow by the orders of the death panels.  What makes it even worse is that the panels are made up of every day citizens like janitors and car repairmen and unless they do what Obama says they are going to be put to death also.”  Bachmann went on to say that her greatest concern about the law is that Obama will appoint only liberals to the panels and they will only select Republicans to be put to death.

Reached for comment while hunting mama grizzly bears inside the confines of Denali National Park, former Wasilla, Alaska mayor Sarah Palin supported Bachmann’s concerns. “I said it in 2009 and I will say it again until I’m blue in the face….well red in the face…the death panels are there and they have generated more campaign contributions for my Tea Bag wing of the former Republic Party than you can imagine.”

More than 2 million people signed up for health insurance coverage under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act since a late October computer glitch slowed down the process.  On January 1 when the law takes effect there will no longer be pre-existing conditions that can stop a person from receiving health insurance.  Children of the insured will be able to remain covered under their parents plans until they are 26 years old, insurance companies can no longer cut insurance coverage if people get sick, and there are no longer upper limits on the amount of money an insurance company has to pay out if an insured person has a catastrophic illness.  The law also mandates that a minimum of 80 cents on every dollar paid for an insurance premium must be allocated for health insurance and the law also calls for an increase in the number of primary care physicians in the United States. 

Republicans insist that this is all bad.