MEDIA RELEASE: Rep. Ellmers attempts to revive “death panel” controversy

MEDIA RELEASE: Rep. Ellmers attempts to revive “death panel” controversy
The Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition calls on the congresswoman to cease making statements that mislead and mischaracterize health reform

RALEIGH (July 7, 2011) – Congresswoman Renee Ellmers is attempting to revive the famous concept of the “death panel” about the Affordable Care Act, an idea that was widely discredited during the national health reform debate.

“In place they have put a 15 person panel that will choose and decide what kind of health care you will receive,” Rep. Ellmers told an audience at an event in Rocky Mount on June 29. “They are an independent panel working amongst themselves, deciding your health care if you have Medicare.”

This is simply not true, says Adam Searing, director of the North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition. Rep. Ellmers is discussing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will make recommendations to Congress on how Medicare can improve care and access, as well as save money. The board will not make final decisions or individual coverage determinations. It is also strictly prohibited from suggesting ways to ration or withhold medical care.

The nonpartisan website FactCheck.org points out that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act specifically states that the advisory board “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums.”

Searing called on Rep. Ellmers to stop making misleading statements about the “death panels” and health reform. “Rep. Ellmers’ statements are egregious misrepresentations,” Searing said. “She is doing her constituents a great disservice and she should not get away with mischaracterizing reform.”

Video of Rep. Ellmers discussing the “death panels” can be viewed online here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam Searing, Director of the Health Access Coalition, adam@ncjustice.org, 919-856-2568; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, jeff@ncjustice.org, 919-863-2402.