Really, There Will Be No Death Panels, Volume 7,846

by Conor Clarke

I admire a lot of Nat Hentoff's writing, but since his new column on the dangers of Obama's end-of-life counseling has been making the rounds on the interweb, I think it's important to call that column exactly what it is: a conspiracy-mongering piece of nonsense. As usual, a caveat applies: By linking to this column and considering its arguments, I do not mean to give anyone the impression that there is a reasonable debate or actual interpretive uncertainty here. There is not. Nat Hentoff's column makes a large (and I hope unintentional) factual error.

The error is this. On the purely voluntary end of life consultations in the House bill, Hentoff writes (channeling Charles Lane):

"To me, 'purely voluntary' means 'not unless the patient requests one.'"

But Obamas' doctors will initiate these chats.

No, no, a thousand times no. The House version of the bill ensures the Medicare will cover up to one consultation every five years, but it makes no stipulation that "Obama's doctors" (whatever the hell that means) will "initiate these chats."