Sarah Palin takes aim at the health care bill's provision to make it out of order for future Congresses to repeal or amend the section creating the Independent Medicare Advisory Board, which, writes Palin "is a panel of bureaucrats charged with cutting health care costs on the backs of patients - also known as rationing":
Democrats are protecting this rationing "death panel" from future change with a procedural hurdle. You have to ask why they're so concerned about protecting this particular provision. Could it be because bureaucratic rationing is one important way Democrats want to "bend the cost curve" and keep health care spending down?
The Congressional Budget Office seems to think that such rationing has something to do with cost. In a letter to Harry Reid last week, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf noted (with a number of caveats) that the bill's calculations call for a reduction in Medicare's spending rate by about 2 percent in the next two decades, but then he writes the kicker:
"It is unclear whether such a reduction in the growth rate could be achieved, and if so, whether it would be accomplished through greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care or would reduce access to care or diminish the quality of care."
Though Nancy Pelosi and friends have tried to call "death panels" the "lie of the year," this type of rationing - what the CBO calls "reduc[ed] access to care" and "diminish[ed] quality of care" - is precisely what I meant when I used that metaphor.