Limbaugh falsely claimed he has "not used the word 'death panels,' except in quoting Sarah Palin"

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

Radio host Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed during the August 17 edition of his program that he has "not used the word 'death panels,' except in quoting Sarah Palin." In fact, during the August 13 edition of his program, Limbaugh -- in his own voice -- referred to end-of-life counseling sessions mentioned in a provision of the House's health care reform legislation as "death panels."

From the August 17 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: No. I have not used the word "death panels," except in quoting Sarah Palin. I have talked about the reality of what's gonna happen. Here's what I have said.

In the first place -- I want to -- before I get to that, I do want to object -- I don't think the government has any business telling doctors that they're gonna sit and talk to people about end of life. I don't think that's the government's job, or it's not -- none of [President] Obama's business or any bureaucrat that he would select.

Limbaugh: "[T]his story in Oregon ... illustrates that they are death panels"

Limbaugh used the phrase "death panels" while speaking in his own voice, called the term "a great way to phrase these end-of-life counseling" sessions. Indeed, during the August 13 broadcast of his program, he asserted: "Now, this story in Oregon involving Barbara Wagner -- again, it's in Mark Levin's book Liberty and Tyranny -- illustrates that they are death panels. And it's a great way to phrase these end-of-life counseling and so forth." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/13/09]

Limbaugh advances oft-debunked claim that end-of-life counseling provision is mandatory

Limbaugh: Government has no "business telling doctors that they're gonna sit and talk to people about end of life." Limbaugh asserted of the end-of-life counseling provision:

LIMBAUGH: I don't think the government has any business telling doctors that they're gonna sit and talk to people about end of life. I don't think that's the government's job, or it's not -- none of Obama's business or any bureaucrat that he would select. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/17/09]

In fact, provision calls for Medicare to cover voluntary end-of-life counseling sessions. Section 1233 of America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 -- the provision former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin cited -- amends the Social Security Act to ensure that advance care planning will be covered if a patient requests it from a qualified care provider [America's Affordable Health Choices Act, Sec. 1233]. According to an analysis of the bill produced by the three relevant House committees, the section "[p]rovides coverage for consultation between enrollees and practitioners to discuss orders for life-sustaining treatment. Instructs CMS to modify 'Medicare & You' handbook to incorporate information on end-of-life planning resources and to incorporate measures on advance care planning into the physician's quality reporting initiative." [waysandmeans.house.gov, accessed 8/13/09]

Media have debunked "death panels" -- more than 40 times over. Media Matters for America has extensively documented that numerous media outlets have now debunked right-wing claims that the House health care reform bill would encourage euthanasia of the elderly, including Palin's claim -- forwarded by the conservative media -- that the bill would create a "death panel" and the related claim -- initiated by former New York Lt. Gov. 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."

Transcripts

From the August 13 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: We already have Obamacare in several states. These death panels that -- and Sarah Palin has doubled down on it, according to the Politico. She's now defended her claim that the Democrat [sic] health care proposal would create death panels in a statement Wednesday night slamming Obama. And if you go to her Facebook page and you look at the notes and you look at the thing she wrote about death panels, it would seem to me that all of the inside-the-Beltway elites, from Peggy Noonan to Mort Kondracke to Charles Krauthammer to whoever the hell else, said she needs to educate herself on the issues. She needs to become more sophisticated. She needs to do some homework.

Seems to me, if you go to her Facebook, she's done some homework on this health care bill. She has become an expert on Section 1233. She writes about -- Politico writes about -- she's doubling down. She's not backing down. She is doubling down, and this has got the White House in a defensive tizzy.

But I would suggest that anybody who doubts her intellectual heft or her ability to learn and study -- go to her Facebook page, look at the notes that she's taken. And it's right there, the study that she has done and engaged in in order to learn about Section 1233.

Now, this story in Oregon involving Barbara Wagner -- again, it's in Mark Levin's book Liberty and Tyranny -- illustrates that they are death panels. And it's a great way to phrase these end-of-life counseling and so forth. There's no question that these expenses, these end-of-life expenses are among the most costly, and they will be used to cut costs.

But the thing that nobody's talking about is, you don't have to be old for them to kick in. All you have to do is have a disease that the government says, "Eh, it's just not worth paying for this." Your advanced cancer -- you could be 35 years old, and they could say, "Sorry." And that's where this is headed.

From the August 17 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

CALLER: Listen, I'm calling to complain about the net effect of your take, your narrative on this health reform bill, and really it culminated in picking up the newspaper and hearing that they pulled the provision for end-of-life counseling out of the legislation.

LIMBAUGH: Mm-hmm.

CALLER: My read on this, my attempt to kind of see beneath all of the hype, the hype on both sides of it -- what I learned about it was, that's a great deal. That's a great program. Counseling for seniors -- if somebody gets a terminal, you know, prognosis from their doctor, Medicare doesn't cover going and sitting down and talking with the doctor about, you know, what to do next. What's gonna -- how's this thing going to play out. Right now, if you're on Medicare, you've got to pay that out of your pocket.

The effects of you, repeat -- and a host of other people -- repeating Betsy McCagey's [sic] line that what this amounts to is a panel of bureaucrats who will try to deny coverage, usher you into the chutes of euthanasia, and, you know, send you off the edge -- all of that's false.

LIMBAUGH: Well, except one thing -- you mean Betsy McCaughey -- and I have not said that. I have not --

CALLER: You have not repeated Betsy McCaughey?

LIMBAUGH: No. I have not used the word "death panels," except in quoting Sarah Palin. I have talked about the reality of what's gonna happen. Here's what I have said.

In the first place -- I want to -- before I get to that, I do want to object -- I don't think the government has any business telling doctors that they're gonna sit and talk to people about end of life. I don't think that's the government's job, or it's not -- none of Obama's business or any bureaucrat that he would select.

CALLER: Could I interrupt you again right there and say, we're talking about the provision where the government didn't "force" doctors or "tell" doctors. The provision clearly stated, and I read it myself --

LIMBAUGH: Then why did they pull it out?

CALLER: -- it covered the conversation.

LIMBAUGH: Why did they pull it out if it's so damn good? They pulled it out because it is what people think it is.

CALLER: Why do you think, Rush? Why do you think?

LIMBAUGH: Why do I think what?

CALLER: Because you couldn't turn on a news program and not hear the word "death panels."

LIMBAUGH: Why do I think what?

CALLER: Why do you think they took the provision out? Why do you think they took it out? Because it was something they --

LIMBAUGH: Because it was something the American people understood and don't want.

Posted In
Health Care, End of Life Issues, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Premiere Radio Networks
Person
Rush Limbaugh
Show/Publication
The Rush Limbaugh Show
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