The Exaggerated Life of “Death Panels”

Over at Behind the Numbers, I have a new post looking at the reasons Americans cite in explaining their views for or against health care reform.  Pundits and participants have put a lot of emphasis on the message war, including former Governor Sarah Palin’s invocation of “death panels.”  But when looking at the ways Americans explain their positions, I am struck instead by the stability of those explanations.  As early as July 2009, before “death panels” or President Obama’s prime-time address, the basic contours of opinion already appear set, with opponents focused on the legislation’s cost and on how it could change the role of government.

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