KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Palin Resurrects ‘Death Panel’ Claims, Controversy Is Decades-Old

CBS News reports: "Sarah Palin has returned to the battle over health care reform with a familiar refrain, slamming what she and others dubbed 'death panels' over the summer. Following passage of the health care overhaul in the House on Saturday night, Palin took to her Facebook page to register her well-known opposition to the Democratic plan. The former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee has received the most attention for coming back in the post to her claim that the bill contains so-called 'death panels' – despite the fact that numerous media organizations and nonpartisan fact-checkers have said in the past that there is no such thing in the bill" (Hechtkopf, 11/9).

Kaiser Health News and NPR take a historical look at the controversy: "It was early summer. A senior federal health official wrote a memo suggesting that living wills -- documents that can convey patients' wishes about when to end life support -- could help curb health-care costs. The memo leaked to the media. By August, a New York Times' column said the official 'likes euthanasia.' Sound like this year's angry August? Well, this story unfolded in 1977, and the official in question was Robert Derzon, the first administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services." (Weaver, 11/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.