Skip to main content

Democratic Congresspeople are, in essence, granting the legitimacy of the "Death Panels" talk and are expressing a willingness to get rid of them in order to win in the November elections. It is hard to fathom, but, essentially, this is what they are doing. This a bad move for a number of reasons.

First, they are conceding that the Republican contention of Death Panels is correct.  

Vulnerable Senate Dems don't rule out voting against Obama cost-control board
By Julian Pecquet - 03/17/12 03:00 PM ET

Several Senate Democrats up for reelection tell The Hill they haven't ruled out bucking President Obama by voting to repeal the health law's cost-control board.

The House is expected to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board next week, putting pressure on the Senate to follow suit.

The IPAB helps control costs and reward choosing the best medical practices at the best prices. This is designed to stop the increasing growth rate of health care costs. Expanding coverage without addressing costs is not sustainable. The talk about "Death Panels" came from the idea that this panel would not cover necessary medical care because it cost too much. They theorized that the board would be reluctant to allow much money to be spent on prolonging the lives of senior citizens a short time.
Republicans, however, have attacked the panel of 15 experts as a "rationing board," a charge that has made it harder for Democrats to support the measure.

In the House, 20 Democrats have co-sponsored legislation to repeal the board, and many more had been expected to vote for repeal.

If they had not agreed that this was "a rationing board", conceding that the false charges against it were true, then they would not have cosponsored legislation to repeal it or expressed a willingness to get rid of it. After all, why get rid of it, if it simply promotes choosing the best medical practices at the best cost ? If it is not bad, then why go there ?

And once they agree with this, then logically, this implies that the Affordable Care Act as a whole should be repealed. Without this board, there are fewer cost containing measures in the Act. Thus, health care costs would be less restrained. And we cannot expand coverage if we do not better control costs. Further, it makes the whole Act seem evil since it pushes people to be under the power of this board. Yielding to this false construction will not help those Democrats who do so for several reasons.

First, the inevitable question will be : Why did you support the Act in the first place when it had this provision ? You supported socialist death panels....
Second, in tougher races, taking this stand will not help them win more Republican votes. For the very most part, Republicans will vote for the Republican candidates and not for a Democrat who by his or her own admission supported such evil legislation.
Third, it will make it harder for them not to support repeal of the whole bill.

Getting rid of IPAB means that health care costs will grow faster. This makes the Act add more to the deficit; CBO will eventually some how come up with a number.

The House has the votes to not only get rid of the IPAB, but to repeal the whole bill.

"We're looking at it, let's put it that way," said Sen. Joe Machin (D-W.Va.). "We'll weigh the pros and cons" if the bill hits the floor.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), another conservative Democrat in a tight race, said via a spokesman that she would take a  "hard look" at the proposal if it ever came before the Senate.

Now, with just a few defections in the Senate, there would be enough votes to pass the bill under normal circumstances. The good news is that there are several reasons why this attempt to repeal the IPAB will ultimately fail.

First, this is a cost containing measure. This means that they cannot get rid of it without cutting spending or adding an equivalent amount of revenue if they want to use reconciliation. It would be hard for them to find something to offset this and maintain enough Democratic support in the Senate. Second, if they don't do that, then they can't use reconciliation. This would mean that they need 60 votes for cloture. I doubt that they could get 60 votes for cloture for a bill to repeal IPAB. Third, the President would veto this bill since it would open the door to repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Nevertheless, this is bad messaging and they are inflicting wounds on themselves, our party, and the President. Not good.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site