A liberal-labor coalition is trying to turn the contretemps over "death panels" on its head with its latest TV ad that says the real death panels are the insurance company committees that deny coverage.
The ad from Americans United for Change, which it says will start airing next week, points out that opponents' claims that Democratic health bills would create committees of bureaucrats who would decide who would receive life-saving care have been widely debunked. (But a key negotiator in the Senate says it won't be in the bill because of the room for misinterpretation.)
"Unfortunately, there are real death panels in America," the announcer says.
Linda Peeno, a former medical director for both Humana Insurance and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, is shown testifying at a congressional hearing, "In the spring of 1987, as a physician, I denied a man a necessary operation that would have saved his life and thus caused his death…and I am haunted by the thousands of pieces of paper on which I have written that deadly word, 'denial.' "
"We need health insurance reform now," the announcer concludes.
“Conservative politicians and pundits will do anything to keep the 'death panels' fantasy alive and well as part of an unscrupulous and concerted effort to kill health insurance reform. But where’s the hysteria from these same conservatives over the real death panels that exist right now in America with the big insurance companies denying millions of Americans the care they need by citing 'pre-existing'’ conditions?” Jeremy Funk, Americans United for Change's communications director, said in a statement today.
It is among the groups supporting President Obama and congressional Democrats in their health overhaul push -- and fighting Republican and conservative groups running ads and organizing protests as members of Congress hear from their constitutents during the August recess.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.