Remember the “death panels” hysteria in 2009 or so when the Affordable Care Act was under development? (PolitiFact called “death panels” the “lie of the year” for 2009, not surprising, since the idea apparently originated with that truth stretcher extraordinaire, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.)
As you may have heard, that rhetoric resurfaced during town halls held by a few Republican members of Congress.
That idiocy came from language in the ACA that authorized Medicare to pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling. It was falsely projected as a “mandatory” activity every five years.
Some of the hysteria also stemmed from a specific clause in the ACA that said:
Establishes an Independent Payment Advisory Board to develop and submit detailed proposals to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending to the President for Congress to consider. Establishes a consumer advisory council to advise the Board on the impact of payment policies under this title on consumers.
The fear, from the right-wing punditry was that bureaucrats would start to deny care to older, sicker Americans.
Well, the American Health Care Act leaves that provision in place, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation:
Other ACA provisions related to Medicare are not changed, including:
* Increase Medicare premiums (Parts B and D) for higher income beneficiaries (those with incomes above $85,000/individual and $170,000/couple).
* Authorize an Independent Payment Advisory Board to recommend ways to reduce Medicare spending if the rate of growth in Medicare spending exceeds a target growth rate.
* Establish various quality, payment and delivery system changes, including a new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to test, evaluate, and expand methods to control costs and promote quality of care; Medicare Shared Savings Accountable Care Organizations; and penalty programs for hospital readmissions and hospital-acquired conditions.
So, is the GOP plan embracing death panels, or is Republican leadership simply admitting that they were lying all along to whip up paranoia?