Death panels live!

Rep. Steve King still thinks Obamacare will decide "whether your life is worth saving"

Topics: Steve King, Medicare, Obamacare, Death Panels, Conspiracy theorists,

Death panels live!U.S. House of Representatives member Steve King from Iowa speaks to the Minutemen, a group of civilian border-watchers, gathered in Laredo, Texas September 11, 2006. The Minutemen plan to start patroling the border along the United States and Mexico. REUTERS/Joe Mitchell (UNITED STATES) (Credit: © Joe Mitchell / Reuters)

The death panel meme seemed to go out of vogue along with a certain former governor from Alaska, but Republican Rep. Steve King likes to party like it’s 2009, telling voters yesterday that life-ending government death panels are real. The North Iowa Globe Gazette reports that King visited Stellar Industries in Garner, where he fielded questions on healthcare policy:

One man asked if it was true that the plan would deny care to elderly cancer patients.

“We think so,” King said.

King said the new health care law sets up a panel to decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t.

They will make a decision on whether your life is worth saving.”

You get the sense of exasperation feels when debunking this myth in its latest of many columns on the subject, from May of this year (“it feels like we are beating a dead horse with this one”). The closest thing to a death panel in the law is something called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a panel of doctors, economists and consumer advocates who try to come up with ways to contain the cost of Medicare spending.  The health reform law specifically states that the panel “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care,” and Congress has oversight in who gets chosen and whether their rulings go into effect, but the myth lives on nonetheless.

While it’s easy to laugh off this kind of conspiracy theorizing, for employees at Stellar or any other voter who relies on Medicare and may not have the time to research these things for themselves, it’d be nice if they could trust that their congressman wasn’t actively feeding them misinformation.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>