Feb 11, 2017

Pro-Obamacare crowd shouts down false "death panel" claim

Rep. Gus Bilirakis had to mediate between loud, angry Obamacare supporters and opponents of the law at his town hall in Florida today.

But nothing compared to the moment when Bill Akins, the secretary of the Republican Party of Pasco County, revived the old, false death panel claim and got shouted down by the law's supporters, per the video below:

"There is a provision in there that anyone over the age of 74 has to go before what is effectively a death panel," Akins told the crowd. When they erupted in boos and jeers, he responded: "OK, children! All right, children."

Fact check: There is no such provision in there. The "death panel" claim won PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" award in 2009, and the crowd's response makes it clear that Obamacare supporters are fighting harder against those kinds of statements than they did when the law was passed.

How Bilirakis responded: CNN's Eric Bradner tweeted that Bilirakis gave Akins some support: "There IS an IPAB board put in place by the ACA." That's a reference to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is supposed to recommend ways to cut Medicare spending if it grows too fast.

Fact check: Republicans and some Democrats have targeted it for elimination for years, but it specifically says the board can't recommend any health care rationing, and it doesn't exist yet because Medicare spending hasn't grown fast enough to need it.

Go deeper

Atlanta mayor on Trump's riot response: "He speaks and he makes it worse"

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms responded on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday to President Trump's tweets and comments about the mass protests that have swept across the United States, urging him to "just stop talking."

What she's saying: "This is like Charlottesville all over again. He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet."

Black Americans' competing crises

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

For many black Americans, this moment feels like a crisis within a crisis within a crisis.

The big picture: It's not just George Floyd's killing by police. Or the deaths of EMT Breonna Taylor and jogger Ahmaud Arbery. Or the demeaning of birdwatcher Christian Cooper and journalist Omar Jimenez. Or the coronavirus pandemic's disproportionate harm to African Americans. It's that it's all happening at once.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Amnesty International: U.S. police must end militarized response to protests

Washington State Police use tear gas to disperse a crowd in Seattle during a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Amnesty International issued a statement on Sunday morning calling for an end to militarized policing in several U.S. cities and the use of "excessive force" against demonstrators protesting police brutality.

Why it matters: The human rights group said police across the country were "failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters."