" is a term that originated during the 2009 debate about federal health care legislation to cover the uninsured in the United States. Sarah Palin, former Republican Governor of Alaska, coined the term when she charged that proposed legislation would create a "death panel" of bureaucrats who would decide whether Americans—such as her elderly parents or children with Down syndrome
—were "worthy of medical care". Palin's claim has been referred to as the "death panel myth
", as nothing in any proposed legislation would have led to individuals being judged to see if they were worthy of health care.
pointed to Section 1233 of bill HR 3200 which would have paid physicians for providing voluntary counseling to Medicare
patients about living wills, advance directives, and end-of-life care options. Palin's claim was reported as false and criticized by the press
, fact-checkers, academics, physicians, Democrats, and some Republicans. Other prominent Republicans such as Newt Gingrich and conservative talk radio hosts Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin backed Palin's statement. One poll
showed that after it spread, about 85% of respondents were familiar with the charge and of those who were familiar with it, about 30% thought it was true. Due to public concern, the provision to pay physicians for providing voluntary counseling was removed from the Senate bill and was not included in the law that was enacted, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
. In a 2011 statement, the American Society of Clinical Oncology bemoaned the politicization of the issue and said that the proposal
should be revisited.
For 2009, "death panel" was named as PolitiFact's "Lie
of the Year", one of FactCheck's "whoppers", and the most outrageous new term by the American Dialect Society.