clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A GOP official at a town hall tried to argue Obamacare has death panels. It did not go well.

During the heated town halls of 2009, it was relatively common for angry constituents to speak out against the (nonexistent) “death panels” in the Affordable Care Act.

That kind of rhetoric, however, might not fly in 2017.

At a Florida town hall on Saturday, a Republican official was quickly shouted down when he tried to argue that the health care law had a “death panel” that all Americans had to appear before when they turned 74.

You can watch the clip here:

“Here’s the problem I have with the Affordable Health Care Act,” Bill Akins, secretary of the Republican Executive Committee of Pasco County, said. “Number one, there is a provision in there that anyone over the age of 74 has to go before what is effectively a death panel.”

At this point, the crowd collectively erupts in boos while Akins continues to say, “They do,” and, “It’s in there, folks, you’re wrong.”

There is, of course, no such panel like the one Akins describes in the Affordable Care Act. The fact-checking website Snopes has done a thorough debunking of this particular version of the myth, about a panel that people over 75 would have to appear before.

The death panel myth has had incredible staying power for years now. A Vox/PerryUndem poll we conducted in 2015 found that 26 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats believed the health care law allowed the government to help make end-of-life decisions about patients’ care.

In 2009, it was commonplace to see a protester yell about “death panels” and have the entire crowd cheer him on. But this video is the first I’ve seen where the same phrase leads to the crowd revolting, and booing in opposition. The death panel myth may finally be approaching its death knell.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.