Sarah Palin deserves an apology. When she said that the new health-care law would lead to "death panels" deciding who gets life-saving treatment and who does not, she was roundly denounced and ridiculed.
Now we learn, courtesy of one of the ridiculers -- The New York Times -- that she was right. Under a new policy not included in the law for fear the administration's real end-of-life game would be exposed, a rule issued by the recess-appointed Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, calls for the government to pay doctors to advise patients on options for ending their lives. These could include directives to forgo aggressive treatment that could extend their lives.
This rule will inevitably lead to bureaucrats deciding who is "fit" to live and who is not. The effect this might have on public opinion, which by a solid majority opposes Obamacare, is clear from an e-mail obtained by the Times. It is from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who sent it to people working with him on the issue. Oregon and Washington are the only states with assisted-suicide laws, a preview of what is to come at the federal level if this new regulation is allowed to stand. Blumenauer wrote in his November e-mail: "While we are very happy with the result, we won't be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren't out of the woods yet. This regulation could be modified or reversed, especially if Republican leaders try to use this small provision to perpetuate the 'death panel' myth."
Doctors once swore an oath, which reads in part: "I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion." Did Dr. Berwick, a fan of rationed care and the British National Health Service, ever take that oath? If he did, it appears he no longer believes it.
Do you see where this leads? First the prohibition against abortion is removed and "doctors" now perform them. Then the assault on the infirm and elderly begins. Once the definition of human life changes, all human lives become potentially expendable if they don't measure up to constantly "evolving" government standards.
It will all be dressed up with the best possible motives behind it and sold to the public as the ultimate benefit. The killings, uh, terminations, will take place out of sight so as not to disturb the masses who might have a few embers of a past morality still burning in their souls. People will sign documents testifying to their desire to die, and the government will see it as a means of "reducing the surplus population," to quote Charles Dickens.
It can't happen here? Based on what standard? Yes it can happen in America, and it will if the new Republican class in Congress doesn't stop it.