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Tilting at Windmills

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March 11, 2011

HUCKABEE DABBLES IN 'DEATH PANELS'.... And here I thought anyone who even hoped to be taken seriously at the national level knew to avoid "death panel" nonsense.

In his new book, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), who seems to be slipping further and further from sanity, blasts the very idea of "comparative effectiveness research" in the Affordable Care Act, arguing that it "planted the seeds from which the poisonous tree of death panels will grow." Seriously, that's what he wrote.

Making matters slightly worse, Huckabee added that "the very old and the very young" will be denied care under this nefarious scheme, along with "those who don't live politically correct lives."

The evidence is starting to mount: this guy really is losing it.

Paul Krugman offered a helpful reminder about what this policy is all about.

[W]hile the government does have a long-run fiscal problem, that problem is overwhelmingly driven by rising health care costs.... So if you're serious about deficits, you shouldn't be pinching pennies now; you should be looking for ways to rein in health spending over the long term. And that means taking exactly the steps that had those G.O.P. staffers sneering.

Think of it this way: Congress could, with a stroke of a pen, cut Social Security benefits in half. But it couldn't do the same with health spending: Medicare can't suddenly start paying to replace only half a heart valve or mandate that bypass operations stop halfway through.

Limiting health costs, therefore, requires a smarter approach. We need to work harder on prevention, which can be much cheaper than a cure. We need to find innovative ways of managing health care. And, above all, we need to know what works and what doesn't so that Medicare and Medicaid can say no to expensive procedures with little or no medical benefit. "So-called comparative effectiveness research" is central to any rational attempt to deal with America's fiscal problems.

But today's Republicans just aren't into rationality. They claim to care deeply about deficits -- but they've spent the past two years putting cynical, demagogic attacks on any attempt to actually deal with long-run deficits at the heart of their campaign strategy.

The nonsense in Huckabee's book obviously qualifies.

This really isn't that complicated. CER is not a nefarious scheme that will lead to bureaucratic overlords dictating which patients are eligible to receive which services; it's simply about identifying the most reliable and effective medical treatments. What's more, it helps prevent wasteful spending -- which the right is supposed to take seriously.

And yet, there's Mike Huckabee, by some measures, the leading Republican presidential candidate for 2012, connecting CER to "death panels" that will kill off the elderly, children, and "those who don't live politically correct lives."

How anyone can take this guy seriously is a mystery.

Steve Benen 10:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

The people who will be hurt the most by comparative effectiveness research are the drug companies who have introduced numerous "new" drugs for conditions adequately treated by older drugs. The only difference between the older, efficacious drugs and the newer, efficacious drugs is price. (Guess which is more expensive by a whole lot). That and sometimes the newer drugs have side effects that take a while to show up whereas the older drugs have been around long enough that people know about what they do. Also, many of them are off patent and are eligible to become generic drugs.

If you want to know what drives Hucklebee, as the adage goes, follow the money.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on March 11, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, a simple rule of thumb: Anyone who uses the phrase "politically correct" in an argument should not be taken seriously.

Posted by: martin on March 11, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Implementing best practices to prevent infection leads to "death panels"? Infection leads to death, windbag!

P.S. Read this months WM article, "First do no Harm"

Posted by: Tigershark on March 11, 2011 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Don't need no "comparative effectiveness research". Granny Huckabee knows most ever'thang can be treated with a tobacco poultice or leeches. Either one will draw the poison out.
In my day, the only "death panel" we had was the Good Lord, callin' his children to his bosom.

Posted by: DAY on March 11, 2011 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Where as Huck sees nothing wrong with corporation run "death panels" that will kill off the elderly, children, and those who don't have fantastic wealth.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on March 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Day: Actually, I believe leeches come out pretty good for things like debriding wounds, compared to some other methods. This is something that CER would document.

But, it seems that no matter what the topic, the Repubs are more interested in making sure the public is more rather than less ignorant.

Posted by: artsmith on March 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Why in the name of God is anybody against figuring out what procedure is most cost effective? There are lots of ways to reduce health care cost without impacting outcomes. We need to consider all of them. Huckabee is full of sh*t.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 11, 2011 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Let the free market decide who is denied health care.

It is not the job of the government.

Posted by: samsa on March 11, 2011 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

This guy already has all of the ChristoFascist bona fides that the religious and ignorant heartland lemming swoon over.

Why does he feel the need to up the ante?

Does he need the Insane Asylum vote?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 11, 2011 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I believe I am living an Alice in Wonderland Universe. up is down , down is up . I really don't know how much more I can take from these reality challenged individuals. Seriously it is driving me crazy and to add insult to injury I live in Florida . I lived through the sixties and I think it is time to start using drugs again in large quantities.

Posted by: John R on March 11, 2011 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

John R,
If you do, please remember that 'sharing is caring!'

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 11, 2011 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Huckabee is pandering to the billionaires who fund
Republican candidates - that is here the real money is. Murdoch and a few other billionaires want to roll back government to where it was in the 1920s: no Social Security, no Medicare, no FDA, no consumer protections. Why? It will be more convenient for them to acquire an ever greater percentage of the wealth of the country that way. Republicans aren't stupid - they are liars. If the Murdoch plan means ruining the lives of ordinary Americans and putting America's economy and standing in the world at risk, well, as John Boehner says: "so be it".

Posted by: edb on March 11, 2011 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Politically incorrect lives? Hmm, maybe like the thousands of men who died of AIDS during the Reagan and Bush I years, while the government did absolutely nothing to address the epidemic or to support research into its treatment?

Posted by: T-Rex on March 11, 2011 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Making matters slightly worse, Huckabee added that "the very old and the very young" will be denied care under this nefarious scheme, along with "those who don't live politically correct lives."


...um, wasn't Huckleberry the guy who wants to put HIV patients in concentration camps?

Posted by: Henry Plantagenet on March 11, 2011 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

He's not running for President, but he's seen what Palin has hauled in, and wants in on that action.

Posted by: John Dillinger on March 11, 2011 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

You're taking him completely out of context. What he really said was "death panel-related programs activities."

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on March 11, 2011 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

I don't see what the thinking is behind the whole "small government" idea. The only people who would benefit are the big taxpayers, and I can see how they might have longed for a small (read: inexpensive) government back when top tax rates were 70 or even 90%. Now, however, top tax rates are not horrendously more than what most people pay. Just what kind of small government future do these guys envision? The world's biggest banana republic? We all know that empires end, but has the world ever known an empire that dismantled its government on purpose? Can you picture ancient China or ancient Rome doing this? Who wants to be the richest guy in the world living in a nation of peasants? The whole small government movement is a mass delusion, an unthinking knee-jerk reaction to totalitarian fears.
Oh, and speaking of empire, it won't matter that the military is left untouched, if what they're asked to fight for is an unjust society that crushes their families.
Yes, our Republic started out as a grand experiment, but moving power away from the people guarantees an eventual totalitarian state.

Posted by: Keeping Track on March 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

"leeches come out pretty good for things like debriding wounds, compared to some other methods. "
Posted by: artsmith

Agreed! And burn units routines use maggots to 'clean up' severely burned patients.
Perhaps, instead using leeches as an example, I should have pointed out that bleeding the patient led to the death of George Washington. . .

Posted by: DAY on March 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

"people who don't lead politically-correct lives" - that's code for "people so stupid they'll vote for Republicans." Notice how almost all your typical morons who get upset at the thought of eating a healthy diet are Republicans? Of course, the fact that they are morons is why.

Huckabuckle needs to get back to rolling in the sawdust and playing with snakes. He's already blathering in tongues.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 11, 2011 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Paul Krugman offered a helpful reminder about what this policy is all about.

But that doesn't matter. Republicans have no good arguments against a policy they see as politically damaging to them -- understandably, since they proposed many of its facets themselves -- but they do have a Frank Luntz focus group approved hot-button buzzword, and by golly, they're gonna use it.

Posted by: Gregory on March 11, 2011 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

"bureaucratic overlords dictating which patients are eligible to receive which services"

Ummm...they already exist. They work at insurance companies! Your free market at work.a

Posted by: ajw93 on March 11, 2011 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

You are usually fresh and interesting, Steve, but you and other commentators are becoming very boring with the How-Can-Anyone-Take-This-Guy-Seriously stuff. It seems to me pretty clear that SOMEBODIES have doped out the Republican nomination for 2012 as follows: the Republican nominee will be a moderate or a "fresh" outsider (my personal nightmare is Petraeus), but the vice-presidential nomination will be a bone for the Tea Party. Gingrich and Huckabee and Palin and all their kind (if they run) are running for Vice-President. They get stronger with their particular demographic when they get crazier. Given the serious gains that the wingnuts made at the State level in a majority of small states, the craziest candidate has the advantage with the leadership and voters of the small primary states. Bring on the Commie Nazi Death Panels.

Posted by: Brownell on March 11, 2011 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Just last weekend I got a robo call from Huckabee asking that I sign a petition to get rid of Obamacare, I fumed about it, hung up,I felt like my home had been invaded.
Second, I would say a governor who releases convicted murderers to murder again could be called a a death panelist.

Posted by: js on March 11, 2011 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Aye friend, but the rupugs have reared their ugly heads, and the apethetic middle class who didn't vote now are seeing what the real agenda is.

We just need to message this to the voters, who otherwise don't pay attention, even the ones watching fox news may get a clue, tho highly doubtful...

Posted by: Michael on March 11, 2011 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Huckabee's the guy who last election just for fun took a pot shot directed toward reporters while he was hunting. He's a vicious one.

Posted by: smintheus on March 11, 2011 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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