Selling The Public On Death Panels

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

Remember during the health care debate in 2009 when Sarah Palin was openly derided for writing about rationed care and daring to use the phrase ‘death panel‘? Obama dismissed her concerns as a rumor, but Governor Palin substantiated her claim and pointed out her opinion wasn’t unique. Here’s one reference she included:

Even columnist Eugene Robinson, a self-described “true believer” who “will almost certainly support” “whatever reform package finally emerges”, agrees that “If the government says it has to control health-care costs and then offers to pay doctors to give advice about hospice care, citizens are not delusional to conclude that the goal is to reduce end-of-life spending.

Go to J. E. Dyer’s post, Obamacare: The propaganda and lobbying machine revs up, that I reblogged yesterday. One of the PR firms she tracked was Ogilvy, which will

…handle the PR promotion of “comparative effectiveness” data on medical procedures, one of the key tasks for its contract with HHS to set up the Obamacare “publicity center.”

Let’s look at some cuttlefish-spurted ink.

First of all, what is the name of the Obamacare bill? Is it something straightforward in its description, such as Nationalized Health Care? No, it’s the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words…

Will it protect patients? Will it be affordable? From the information and analysis coming out, the answers are no and no.

Look at another phrase: comparitive effectiveness. What does that mean? If you follow one of J. E. Dyer’s links, you can read this from the Heritage Foundation:

One element of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is the advancement of “comparative effectiveness research” (CER)….defined by the Institute of Medicine as “the generation and synthesis of evidence that compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor a clinical condition or to improve the delivery of care”….The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has created a quasi-governmental entity, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), to advance CER and its use by doctors, patients, and others….

Being able to compare treatment options and pick the best, most cost-effective ones sounds ideal—in theory. Real-life applications of CER, however, can and often do take a different form….

While PCORI uses the term “patient-centered,” its findings will not necessarily be used to promote patient-centered care. The institute was originally named the Comparative Effectiveness Research Institute, but the name was changed because of the controversy that this clear assertion of its intentions created.

There is a reason why some phrases are called Orwellian!

Heritage goes on to say:

CER use in the U.K. has been a far cry from what is implied by the rhetoric used to promote PCORI. Rather than focusing on the individual needs of patients, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) uses comparative and cost-effectiveness information to limit options as a budgetary tool.

Just yesterday my husband pointed out this article in the Daily Mail: Now sick babies go on death pathway: Doctor’s haunting testimony reveals how children are put on end-of-life plan.

Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.

Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies….

The investigation, which will include child patients, will look at whether cash payments to hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions.

Senator Jim DeMint’s office offers this blunt description of comparative effectiveness research:

In short, comparative effectiveness research is what the government uses to analyze various healthcare treatments and outcomes to determine what kind of care government-run healthcare programs will pay for. Or, to put it more succinctly, how the government will ration care.

The post also states that part of the Ogilvy PR campaign will be to “establish virtual centers on the websites WebMD and Medscape.”

What kind of company is Ogilvy? Liberty News Network has a telling quote.

While movements to educate or drive awareness about social issues are vital, affecting the components of personal behavior — our attitudes, our motivations, our abilities, and more — can push people toward actions that matter: the routine purchase of socially responsible goods and products or the use of or engagement with socially conscious services. Actions like those — and hundreds of others — lead our world toward better results for individuals, society, and business.

This is a utopian claptrap translation of coercion, with a PR campaign to sell it softly to you. In high school we use to laugh at pretentious phrases like these. Whether or not the words are written to delude or written by the self-deluded, the intent is serious.

In Tiger At The Gates, Jean Giraudoux contrasted two faces of war—the beautiful face of Helen of Troy, and the face on the backside of a baboon, “scarlet, scaly, glazed, framed in a clotted filthy wig.” That’s a public relations campaign to sell the public on death panels; it is a façade designed to sell the public evil as good.

__________
Related Posts:
1. Propaganda’s Assault
2. The Planted Lie
3. Illusion For Power
4. Masters of Words
5. Posters Of A Thousand Words
6. The ABC’s of Propaganda Analysis
7. Obamacare: The propaganda and lobbying machine revs up

Cuttlefish: Gbaddorf, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Ink: Hannes Grobe, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Links to the Heritage Foundation, Senator Jim DeMint and Liberty News Network via http://theoptimisticconservative.wordpress.com

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One thought on “Selling The Public On Death Panels

  1. […] Welcome to the many new readers here this past week. Thank you for taking the time to read this series!  Understanding propaganda is no longer be something only to be learned to pass a civics test, but is an indispensable guardian of our freedom. There is more to come, so please check back in! __________ Related Posts: 1. Propaganda’s Assault 2. The Planted Lie 3. Illusion For Power 4. Masters of Words 5. Posters Of A Thousand Words 6. The ABC’s of Propaganda Analysis 7. Obamacare: The propaganda and lobbying machine revs up 8. Selling The Public On Death Panels […]

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