August 17, 2009
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
I was saddened to read “False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Familiar Roots” in the Friday (August 14, 2009) edition of the Times. Rather than examine the actual text of the bills, the Times simply editorialized against opponents of provisions within the health care proposals currently being considered. The opening paragraph reads like something that might be uttered by Robert Gibbs during the daily press briefing in the West Wing. The job description of the White House Press Secretary and an independent newspaper are not one in the same, and by continuing to justify rather than report on this administration’s agenda the Times is failing it readership.
What the Times calls “rumors,” in fact, have some roots in a piece which the Times itself published. That item, interestingly omitted from the article’s chronology of the rising “specter of government-sponsored, forced euthanasia,” was a 5,000-word feature piece published in the New York Times Magazine on July 19th by Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, openly advocating the rationing of healthcare on the basis of QALYs, a measurement of one’s “quality-adjusted-life-year.”
As National Right to Life has noted in its analysis of the current proposal before the House, there is no protection to prevent Comparative Effectiveness Research from being used to discriminatorily deny healthcare based on age, present or predicted disability or expected length of life. To insist that this is a dangerous omission which could allow comparative effectiveness to be used to deny care to the most vulnerable patients is not fear-mongering, it is a realistic concern. Perhaps if the Times was not so ideologically invested in promoting this administration’s agenda they would be able to see that as well.
National Right to Life