Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paul Ryan tries to scare seniors shitless with the old "death panel" routine

By Michael J.W. Stickings 

At a town hall in Orlando yesterday, Paul Ryan continued his Romneyesque effort to lie his way to the vice presidency, specifically by fearmongering about those mythical "death panels" Republicans use to smear the Affordable Care Act. He was asked the following question:

We love you Paul. But I'm getting long in years. Will you address the death panels that we're going to have?

Of course, there aren't going to be any death panels, but that didn't stop Ryan from trying to scare the elderly shitless:

The death panels, well! That's not the word I'd choose to use to describe it. It's actually called. It's actually called, so in Medicare, what I refer to as this board of 15 bureaucrats. It's called the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It sounds fairly innocuous. 

See, there won't be death panels, but there really will be, just called something else. So, yes, there will be death panels. Obama wants to kill you. (I invite the Romney campaign to take this completely out of context: "Democratic bloggers agree: Obama wants to kill you!")

This has been standard Republican fare the past couple of years, particularly from the likes of Sarah Palin, and here goes Ryan, twisting it a bit to make it seem less like a blatant lie but lying nonetheless. Because the IPAB is anything but a death panel, as Think Progress notes:

The Board, or IPAB — a provision included in the Affordable Care Act — is tasked with making binding recommendations to Congress for lowering health care spending, should Medicare costs exceed a target growth rate. Congress can accept the savings proposal or implement its own ideas through a super majority.

The panel's plan will modify payments to providers but despite Ryan's claims, it cannot "include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums... increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria" (Section 3403 of the ACA). The IPAB will consist of 15 members appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, and will include a broad spectrum of experts and consumer advocates, like physicians, employers, economists, representatives of consumers and the elderly.

Oh, and it's not nearly as controversial as Ryan suggests:

In fact, relying on health care experts rather than politicians to control health care costs has previously attracted bipartisan support and even Ryan himself proposed two IPAB-like structures in a 2009 health plan.

That was then, this is now, and obviously Ryan thinks that the only way he and Mitt can get elected is to lie, lie, and lie some more, scaring voters, including seniors, into ignorant submission.

He may be right. Which is why he's been doing so much of it, and why he'll be doing much more of it the rest of the way.

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