It’s been a long-established fact that there are no “death panels” in the health care reform law. But that doesn’t keep conservatives from continuing to claim there are.
The latest to push this bogus claim is Andrew Longman, who began his September 21 WorldNetDaily column by referencing his own previous (false) “death panels” claim – which he insisted was true –asserting that “we are sick of listening to smug leftists dismiss [Sarah] Palin as ‘wrong’ or ‘falsely’ asserting that there are death panels in Obamacare.” Longman then moved on to his new false claim, which involves cherry-picking a section of the bill regarding counseling services available to those under the “CLASS Independence Benefit Plan."
First, Longman demonstrates a lack of reading comprehension by declaring a provision that says eligible beneficiaries under the CLASS program “shall receive ... benefits” including “advocacy” and “assistance” counseling means those beneficiaries are “required under Obamacare” to receive that counseling. In fact, it’s clear that this section of the bill mandates that this counseling be made available, not that the counseling itself is mandatory. Nevertheless, Longman continues:
So if Sebulius [sic] wanted you to be counseled about Dr. Kevorkian services, or counseled on Smurfs in Ancient Russia, she just tells your counselor to make you sit through that. But while giving arbitrary and mandatory "counseling" powers to the secretary of HHS is weird and sinister, it's a minor item compared to Page 723.
The government mandates an "advice and assistance counselor," who shall provide to CLASS recipients, among other things:(5) available assistance with decision making concerning medical care, including the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment and the right to formulate advance directives or other written instructions recognized under state law, such as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care, in the case that an injury or illness causes the individual to be unable to make health care decisions; and(6) such other services as the Secretary, by regulation, may require.
So, for the weakest in society, Obamacare pressurizes them to jump off a cliff.
But Longman overlooks an important part of this section. Here’s how the section outlining these benefits begins (emphasis added):
(e) ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE COUNSELING.--An agreement entered into under subsection (a)(2)(A)(iii) shall require the entity to assign, as requested by an eligible beneficiary that is covered by such agreement, an advice and assistance counselor who shall provide an eligible beneficiary with information regarding--
In other words, the section clearly states that such counseling is made available at the request of the beneficiary -- not mandatory.
After getting repeatedly shot down, you’d think right-wingers would give up on pushing this bogus claim. But given the zombie lie that “death panels” has become, that, sadly, appears unlikely.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)