Last Friday Kevin Woster wrote a pretty good column about Republican Senate candidate Mike Rounds's ambiguous conservatism. Woster mentions Rapid City Councilor Bonny Petersen's challenge to Rounds's specious reframing of "death panels" and "rationing panels":
Rounds says he frets about what many in his party call “death panels” and he refers to as rationing panels — or government committees that could withhold authorization for certain procedures in certain situations, possibly with life-and-death results.... Petersen says treatment panels are in play already, with insurance companies that decide what they will and won’t cover and how much they’ll pay.
“The insurance companies have those committees themselves,” Petersen said today, in a follow-up conversation about her discussion with Rounds. “Why shouldn’t the government have them?”
Petersen argues that the key life-and-death issues are really focused on the last weeks of someone’s life, typically an old someone with profound ailments who has played out all reasonable medical options and is terminal. It’s just a question of whether the end will come without invasive procedures that can be painful and de-humanizing and — well, yes, expensive — and do nothing to extend life [Kevin Woster, "Hey Honey, Does Obamacare Cover Treatment for Existential Dread?" Politics in KELOLand, 2014.08.08].
Kevin had better be careful: if the KELO notices he's using words like existential on their website, they'll give Kevin a stern talking-to.
Also giving Rounds a stern talking-to is leading Democratic thinker Nick Nemec, who unloads in Woster's comment section:
Mike Rounds is deliberately obtuse in regards to the Affordable Care Act. Don Rounds is not going to be denied care, nor is any other senior citizen on Medicare. To claim that is possible is demagoguery of the rankest sort aimed at scaring senior citizens and their families.
The people who are really being denied care are those who will not be covered by Medicaid because leaders of the Republican Party, like Rounds, refuse to accept the Federal money to expand Medicaid. That is the real, and only, government death panel in existence, and Mike knows it. But, those people are low income so they don’t matter [Nick Nemec, comment to Woster, 2014.08.10].
Expanding state medical coverage has saved lives. States fully playing ball with the Affordable Care Act are seeing more people getting health care coverage so they don't have to worry quite as much about dying from untreated maladies.
And dang it, Mike, there are no death panels. There isn't even a rationing panel. The Independent Advisory Board, the one panel created by the ACA that political liars from Sarah Palin to Mike Rounds have inflated into scare tactics, is explicitly forbidden by the ACA from rationing... unlike insurers like Mike Rounds, who has bought his airplanes and riverside house with money made by rationing health care.
Woster heard Rounds repeat his tired story about losing sleep over the fake fear that the ACA would take Medicare away from his dad. And Mike Rounds wants to boost his political fortune by backing policies that would take health coverage away from even more Americans. If you're not rich (and that's most of you), you should be losing sleep over the prospect of Mike Rounds turning the Senate into a death panel, or a rationing panel, just like his business.