Battle of the New Yorker Sawbones!

A mostly political weblog.
Aug. 21 2009 3:32 AM

Battle of the New Yorker Sawbones!

If You've Lost Robert Pear ... : From Maguire :

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Old New York Times  reporting : "Death panel" rumors "false," the product of a familiar network of anti-reform "pundits and conservative media outlets":

There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure.

New New York Times reporting : "[F]ears ... about possible rationing" are " not entirely irrational":

The zeal for cutting health costs, combined with proposals to compare the effectiveness of various treatments and to counsel seniors on end-of-life care, may explain why some people think the legislation is about rationing, which could affect access to the most expensive services in the final months of life.

Next thing you know, the NYT ers will be grabbing the mike at town halls. ...

P.S.: At least when voters are having notentirelyirrationalfears that Obama would have the state play god by exercising yes/no power over life-ending medical decsions, he didn't go and say something creepily extravagant and provocative like "we are God's partners in matters of life and death." ... Whew! ... Oh. . ... [ also via Maguire ] ... Update: I'm now having mild, but gnawing, doubts as to the epistemological status of that Obama quote. Politico reports it (twice). It seems to come from the real time twitter feed of a rabbi who was in on the phone call. (The rabbi has since deleted the tweet , giving an odd explanation .) Press Secretary Gibbs was asked about the quote Friday, didn't deny it, but said he'd have to check the transcript....  5:10 P.M.

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Groopman vs. Gawande? I missed New Yorker contributor Dr. Jerome Groopman reaming President Obama on the magazine's July 23 podcast . Groopman accuses the President of "happy talk" that pretends the problem of long-term cost control will be painless. He also claims the "current" reform propoals will "build a huge bureaucratic superstructure around things that are not gonna save money and probably aren't going to improve quality."  

Groopman's critique isn't mine--he thinks "rationing is going to be inevitable" and fees for doctors hospitals and drug companies have to be radically reduced. But his arguments certainly sit uneasily with the implication of the famously influential article by his fellow  New Yorker doc , Atul Gawande--which is that, hey, if we only crack down on the wasteful McAllen, Texases of the world we can dramatically cut costs relatively painlessly. ...

P.S.: I obviously agree with Rick Hertzberg, who argues you have to give everyone the "goodies" (of universal coverage) first, and then whatever hard choices are necessary become easier. And I don't quite understand why the choice has to be Euro-style rationing (Groopman's view) if we're willing to make the alternative hard choice of raising taxes (or cutting other spending) to pay for avoiding it.  ... 1:20 A.M.

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Gawker says that the National Enquirer has "has been 100 percent right about everything on this story"--a now-common MSM overreaction . I'd say the Enquirer has been more like 95% right--still better than anyone else. Their main  blind spot is a refusal to say anything bad about Elizabeth Edwards , presumably for fear of offending their readership who prefer the story line of St. Elizabeth the Resilient Victim. ( Enquirer editor David Perel: " She's been hurt. She lashed out. ... [T]here's some places I don't want to go." ) Fortunately, HuffPo 's Lee Stranahan is still around  to chronicle Elizabeth's dissembling . ...

P.S.: Bonus Google gold ! ... 1:19 A.M.

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Systemic Change at Dreidl HQ: Marc Ambinder now sticks in a 'to be sure' graf before selling us the optimistic WH spin . Today's good news for Obama? He's "about to go on vacation"! .... 1:03 A.M.

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