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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/23/14

The GOP Death Panel

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Cross-posted from Smirking Chimp

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>The death panels are real and they've been found!

Back in 2009 when the healthcare debate was at its most crazy, Republicans warned us that once Obamacare was passed, government officials would get to ration health care, and as a result, have control over the life and death of millions of Americans.

They called the group of bureaucrats who supposedly got to make these decisions "death panels."

The idea of death panels had actually been swirling around the right wing media echo chamber for a while, but it really crossed over into the mainstream when Sarah Palin talked about it in an August, 2009 Facebook note.

Palin said that if the healthcare bill became law, people like her disabled son would "have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats [could] decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."

Soon everyone, pundits and politicians alike, was talking about death panels.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, for example, told a crowd of supporters on August 11, 2009 that the House version of the healthcare bill would allow government "to decide when to pull the plug on grandma."

Grassley's warning about a grandmother-killing socialist plan was just one of the many such scare stories told by Republicans that summer.

It's easy to laugh at them now with 8 million more Americans getting health insurance because of Obamacare and people's lives actually being saved by Obamacare, but the ironic thing is, people like Sarah Palin and Chuck Grassley who warned us about death panels were actually kind of right.

All across the country right now, people are literally dying because politicians are denying them the healthcare they need to survive, and it does have something to do with Obamacare.

But it's not President Obama or some evil communist plot that's putting politics over lives -- it's Republicans.

Republicans have created their own death panels.

Activists connected with showed up at the largest of these GOP death panels in New York City yesterday. It's called the Republican Governors' Association, and its members -- people like Nikki Haley and Rick Perry -- are the real healthcare killers.

That's because right now, 24 states, all of which are either led by Republican governors or controlled by Republican legislatures, are refusing to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

As a result, approximately 4.8 million low-income working Americans do not have health insurance -- just because Republican governors and legislators in red states refuse to take the federal money that would pay for it.

These 4.8 million people work at low-paying jobs, typically earning between $4000 and $11,000 a year, but even at that they make too much money to qualify for normal, non-expanded Medicaid and they're too poor to qualify for free or subsidized health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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