Rumors

How 'Death Panel' Fears Started

It's no secret that the "death panel" rumor has turned the health-care debate nasty, but it was unclear where the rumors came from. The New York Times writes that the rumor has a "mainstream provenance, openly emanating months ago from many of the same pundits and conservative media outlets" that helped defeat the Clinton heath-care plan sixteen years ago. None of the current legislative proposals include killing the ill as a cost-cutting measure. But editorials in the Washington Times, American Spectator, and New Republic, and columns by conservative luminaries such as Cal Thomas, George Neumayr, and Betsy McCaughey as far back as November of last year lay out a conservative position against euthanasia, suggesting that cutting costs by ending life early is part of the Democrats' agenda, and comparing Democratic policy to that of Nazis.