WASHINGTON -- Claims about socialism and death panels had seemingly faded from public debate about the health care reform law until Tuesday, when they roared back in full measure at protests outside the Supreme Court, being made by Tea Party-aligned members of Congress.
The Huffington Post caught up with two of those speakers, Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Steve King (R-Iowa), and asked them to elaborate.
Gohmert was the more forthcoming.
"When the government controls everybody's health care, pays for everybody's health care, it is the government controlling everything. They have the power then to tell everybody how much they should put in, how much they take out," Gohmert explained.
"How much more socialist can you get than a government telling everybody what they can do, what they can't do, how they can live," he said, warning of consequences should the high court uphold the Affordable Care Act. "Individual liberty is gone as soon as this bill is held constitutional."
King was just as adamant.
"Just think of this: Is it socialism to nationalize a company? Is it socialism to take over banks, insurance companies, car companies? Is that socialism? The socialists say it is," said King, referring more to the federal bailouts during the recession than to health care reform.
He granted there's a difference between the socialism that he sees in the Affordable Care Act and communism.
"It's control of the means of production," King said. "Owning the means of production is Marxism. Controling the means of production is more in the realm of socialism."
King even had a helpful hint on learning more about socialism, referring HuffPost to the Democratic Socialists of America.
"I'd suggest you go to the website DSAUSA.org," King said. "They actually explain the difference."
Gohmert added that since the health care law is socialist and establishes the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to help control Medicare costs, the law will lead inevitably to government decisions to let people die.
"Once you go socialist and buy into the notion that you've got to forget individual liberty, forget individual freedom, it's all about the greatest good for the greatest number of people," Gohmert warned. "That's fine, but it means people in wheelchairs will be analyzed by the IPAB to say, 'Are they too old? Should we quit spending this kind of money?'
"In order to make Obamacare to work, the IPAB must look and say, 'This costs so much, this costs so much. This works over here and will save a lot of people, but this one will save more. So since we're the government and we bought into the socialist notion that the greatest good for the greatest number of people reigns -- no longer individual liberty reigns -- therefore we've got to let these people die and these people live,'" Gohmert said.
In fact, under the law, the IPAB is explicitly barred from "rationing" and is tasked with making recommendations to Congress on how to control costs in Medicare if they grow too fast starting in 2013. Congress can either overrule those recommendations and suggest other savings or let the recommendations go into effect.
Michael McAuliff covers politics and Congress for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.
How will Donald Trump’s first 100 days impact YOU? Subscribe, choose the community that you most identify with or want to learn more about and we’ll send you the news that matters most once a week throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office. Learn more