07/23/2012 12:33 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Death Panels' Revived By Conservative Ads In Illinois Congressional Races

WASHINGTON -- Death panels are back.

Three Democratic candidates in Illinois are facing ads from a conservative group alleging that voting for them will lead to "a panel of bureaucrats who can decide what treatment you receive, despite what your doctor thinks."

This claim about the Affordable Care Act was hot in 2009, when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) claimed that Americans would have to "stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care." Politifact gave the "death panels" myth its "Lie of the Year" distinction.

Now, the New Prosperity Foundation -- a political group based in Chicago that is attempting to elect Republicans in the Midwest -- is reviving this claim.

The group is running ads against Democratic congressional candidates Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster and Brad Schneider, charging that if they are elected, they will increase government control over health care.

At issue is the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member commission that would make recommendations to Congress for lowering Medicare spending. Republicans have charged that this board would "ration" care.

As Igor Volsky at ThinkProgress explains, IPAB kicks in only if health care spending increases beyond a specific threshold. Additionally, under the Affordable Care Act, IPAB is prohibited from rationing care and won't be making individual decisions on what patients receive.

IPAB's recommendations cannot "include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums … increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co- payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria."

Palin has continued to push the death panel claim.

"As we wait for the impending Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, I reiterate what I wrote in my first post on this topic nearly three years ago," Palin wrote in a June Facebook post titled "'Death Panel' Three Years Later." "I stand by everything I wrote in that warning to my fellow Americans because what was true then is true now, and it will remain true as we hear what the Supreme Court has to say."

The conservative rationale for death panels has changed over time -- first focusing on a provision allowing Medicare to cover end-of-life counseling by physicians (which was eventually abandoned by the Obama administration) and then shifting attention to IPAB.

New Prosperity is a super PAC and was also active in the 2010 elections. It received funding from several wealthy donors who were so-called Bush Pioneers from 2000 and 2004.

The New Prosperity Foundation did not return a request for comment on the new ads.

Schneider ad (in which "Schneider" is misspelled):

Duckworth ad:

Foster ad:



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