Figuring Out Health Care Reform - Part I - Killing Sick People & How to Fact Check

This is the first in a series of posts called "Figuring Out Health Care".  My look into what the current attempt at health care reform means, and whether or not it's a good idea.

I recently started looking into the current health care reform debate and was deeply saddened to find that there was almost no useful debate.

Don't get me wrong, there should be a debate. There is plenty to debate...  but the majority of the people I've seen, read, or heard opposing this bill either haven't read it, or are completely bat shit crazy.

Now that doesn't mean there isn't reasonable opposition out there, but where it exists, it's being drowned out by the embarrassingly crazy.

This first post is intended to explain one of the most egregious lies about the current health care bill, and how an individual can cut through the BS and talking points and figure out the truth.

The Death Panel Myth:

There are a number of heath care reform opponents, and one in particular, claiming that Section 1233 current House Health Care Bill would have the government create (death) panels that determine when elderly people or people with disabilities should stop receiving health care and thus die.

My reaction & How to Find The Answers Yourself:

It seemed a little unlikely that our Congress would be dumb enough to actually propose legislation to put old people to death, given their typically large turnout on election day, but I decided to check it out. I did this by going to and reading Section 1233. You can too. It will take you about 5 minutes.

Go ahead... Seriously, read it. 5 Minutes.... I'll wait...

Ok, so you've just read a clearly worded set of rules instructing Medicare to start paying doctors to council old or sick people on hospice care, pain management and making out wills.

There's nothing about withholding care, and there's certainly nothing about killing disabled people. Rather, it's a well thought out set of rules that make sure doctors are compensated when they provide reasonable care as people prepare and go through the natural course of dying.

So what does that have to do with Death Panels? Nothing at all.  The people saying these things are completely full of crap. They are the worst kind of fearmongers because they are preying on exactly the people that this section of the health care reform bill is supposed to help.

If you should happen to meet one of these fearmongers, my recommendation is to force them to read section 1233 of the bill out loud. When they are done, ask them if they still think this section sets up death panels. If they say yes, slap them. Rinse and repeat until they come to their senses.

The US spends about 15% of its GDP on health-care every year. That's ~2.21 TRILLION dollars. With that amount of money in play, everyone's motives should be suspect.

Fortunately getting the truth isn't that hard. Just keep a healthy skepticism of pundits, and read the bill.