Back when President Obama was trying to enact health care reform in 2009, Sarah Palin created and popularized the term “death panels”. She claimed that the ACA would create panels of bureaucrats who would decide who was “worthy of medical care”. Even though this was a complete fabrication on the part of Palin, it managed to turn many people against what Republicans derided as “socialized medicine”. And of course, the healthcare system then knew who was worthy of saving — people who had enough money (or power) to get healthcare or afford required drugs.
It would be like wanting to privatize firefighting because our current system will lead to panels of bureaucrats who would decide which houses were worthy of being saved when they caught fire. Or privatize police departments so you have to pay for their protection, or courts, or the military.
But last night, Donald Trump tweeted “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself. At the end of the 15 day period, we will make a decision as to which way we want to go!”
The question Trump is saying we need to decide is whether the costs of social distancing are worth it. Do we want to focus on saving lives, or saving the economy by focusing only on “productive” citizens.
That’s right, Trump is proposing “death panels” pure and simple. We have to decide who is worth saving. And we already know Trump’s answer to that question. The rich and powerful, and even then, probably only those who support him.
Sarah Palin was lying when she claimed that the government would decide who lives and dies. But now that is exactly what Trump is proposing.
UPDATE: Trump is thinking about relaxing social distancing rules and having people go back to work … in order to “save” the economy.