Media Matters has Debunked The "Pants On Fire" Lies by Sarah Palin, Betsy McCaughey and other Right-Wing Pundits About the So-Called, Non-Existent "Death Panels" in Obama's Health Reform Plan:
"REPORT: The media have debunked the death panels -- more than 40 times over
Numerous media outlets have now debunked right-wing claims that the House health care reform bill would encourage euthanasia of the elderly, including Sarah Palin's claim -- forwarded by the conservative media -- that the bill would create a "death panel" and the related claim -- initiated by Betsy McCaughey -- that the bill would "absolutely require" that seniors on Medicare undergo end-of-life counseling "that will tell them how to end their life sooner." Indeed, Media Matters for America has identified more than 40 instances of media reporting that these claims are false.
40+ media reports debunking false claims of "death panels," euthanasia
PolitiFact says "death panel" claims are "pants on fire," "false." On August 10, PolitiFact.com, a project of the St. Petersburg Times, wrote: "We've looked at the inflammatory claims that the health care bill encourages euthanasia. It doesn't. There's certainly no 'death board' that determines the worthiness of individuals to receive care. ... [Palin] said that the Democratic plan will ration care and 'my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of [President] Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care.' Palin's statement sounds more like a science fiction movie (Soylent Green, anyone?) than part of an actual bill before Congress. We rate her statement Pants on Fire!" Addressing a revised version of Palin's claim in a subsequent post, PolitiFact wrote on August 13: "The fact is that there is nothing in the health care bill that would require people to get the end-of-life counseling. Perhaps, as [The Washington Post's Charles] Lane - and by extension Palin - argues, patients might feel some subtle pressure from a doctor to get the counseling. But the patients make the call. That's the definition of voluntary." PolitiFact added: "We've said in our previous item that it was voluntary and we see nothing in Palin's argument that proves otherwise. And so we rule her claim False."
PolitiFact previously determined that McCaughey's claim was "a ridiculous falsehood." PolitiFact stated: "For our ruling on this one, there's really no gray area here. McCaughey incorrectly states that the bill would require Medicare patients to have these counseling sessions and she is suggesting that the government is somehow trying to interfere with a very personal decision. And her claim that the sessions would 'tell [seniors] how to end their life sooner' is an outright distortion. Rather, the sessions are an option for elderly patients who want to learn more about living wills, health care proxies and other forms of end-of-life planning." The article concluded: "McCaughey isn't just wrong, she's spreading a ridiculous falsehood. That's a Pants on Fire." [PolitiFact.com, 7/23/09]"