Bureaucratic Slight of Hand
Kathleen Sebelius, the most powerful woman in America:
Our civics textbooks tell us we have a system of representative government, accountable to the people, to adjudicate just such intensely contested questions. The textbooks are wrong: They fail to account for the Rule of Sebelius. Her HHS decided Medicare would cover end-of-life consultations as part of Obamacare's annual "wellness visits."
Sebelius not only gets to make this call, she gets to don the Dick Cheney Shroud of Secrecy to do it. As the New York Times notes: "Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor." The office of Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon who supports the HHS decision, sent an e-mail apprising advocates of the new rule, yet warning them "not to broadcast this accomplishment out to any of your lists, even if they are ‘supporters' - e-mails can too easily be forwarded."
Ah, yes, the danger of public information: It might crimp the work of Kathleen Sebelius.
The "death panels" language, was, as Rich Lowry points out, stripped out of the Obamacare bill before passage. But Sebelius went ahead and conjured them up anyway.