Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Krugman Admits Error; Limbaugh Doesn't

Rush Limbaugh did in fact quote Paul Krugman accurately when he noted that the Nobel Prize-winning economist stated the previous day at the roundtable on ABC's This Week

They should have said, "Okay, look, Medicare is going to have to decide what it's going to pay for. And at least for starters, it's going to have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all. In other words, it should have endorsed the panel that was part of the health care reform. If the commission isn't even brave enough to take on the death panels people, then it's doing no good at all."

But then Limbaugh went on to contend

I mean this is the guy they all bow down and genuflect toward, folks, and he said death panels and a national sales tax, that's VAT. "Some years down the pike we're gonna get to the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes." There it is. Sarah Palin was right and that's why they flipped out and had a panic reaction when the phrase was first used....

There's no question there are death panels in the Obamacare bill. Everybody knows it. Now, Krugman has let it out of the bag. But when Sarah Palin used the term "death panels," Krugman wrote a piece, it was August 14th, 2009, in the New York Times, and he called Sarah Palin and other conservatives lunatics for suggesting that there were death panels in Obamacare.

The "death panels" to which Sarah Palin was referring- as best as can be determined= was then the Comparative Effectiveness Research Center and oversight commission proposed as part of what eventually became H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. She wrote on her Facebook page on 8/7/09

And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of 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. Such a system is downright evil.

Not surprisingly Limbaugh did not choose to replay this portion of the conversation, reported by, between Krugman and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus in which they continued to discuss what was adopted as the Independent Payment Advisory Board:

Marcus: "They did talk about strengthening that commission, the famous IPAB, and giving it more power to go after more aspects of the health care system, because it's now rather constrained," Marcus said.

Krugman: "They made no headlines with that."

Paul Krugman was suggesting that the deficit reduction commission "take on the death panels people" by recommending the IPAB be given greater latitude to adopt policies to reduce Medicare costs. Politifact then published a piece suggesting not that Krugman was right in implying that the Board was granted extensive powers- which was the crux of Limbaugh's comments- but that the Bowles/Simpson proposal would strengthen the severely limited authority given it as part of the health care act. It explained

More specifically, the report recommends strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, a new board created under the 2010 health care law. The board is intended to make evidence-based recommendations on reducing costs and improving the quality of care in Medicare. In practice, the board will likely issue rules on which procedures it will pay for and which it won't, and these rules will apply across the board. (The board will not get involved in decisions on individual patients based on their worth to society -- the old "death panels" lie.) The board's recommendations will take effect unless Congress overrules them.

The co-chairs' proposal suggested several ways that the board could be strengthened, such as applying its recommendations to all health care providers without some of the exceptions allowed under the health care law. It suggested that the board make recommendations on benefit design and cost-sharing, which the health care law does not allow. Finally, the co-chairs suggested that the board's proposals apply not only to Medicare but also to private health insurance plans sold in government-sponsored exchanges.

Shorter Politifact: Krugman was wrong to argue that the deficit reduction commission should endorse greater authority for the IPAB because it already has boldly done so.

In an earlier piece, Politifact had noted that the board's conclusions apply only to Medicare and are not binding; that end-of-life counseling sessions (criticized by Palin) are not required and that the board does not consider individual cases but only recommends what treatment Medicare generally should pay for.

Limbaugh concluded by ranting

My point in doing this is to simply illustrate that they lie. They lie and the reason they lie is when we are right. Truth is the greatest threat these people face. Truth is the biggest enemy they've got. And now he's out there saying that death panels are a cost saver.

Yes, liberals (such as the inestimable Krugman) are different. Politifact reports an exchange in which

We e-mailed Krugman after the show to ask him about his comments. He said his reading of the report, particularly page 31, struck him as "a model of vagueness."

Then, however, Paul Krugman added

I was somewhat unfair in not giving credit for the endorsement of the IPAB.

An admission of error. Now, that's something you won't get out of a conservative, whether Oxycontin-swilling or otherwise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ok, ok, its a death board not a death panel.

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