It was dubbed PolitiFact's first lie of the year: The completely invented charge, based on a deliberately minsinterpreted section of the Affordable Care Act, that the bill would include "death panels" that would decide who gets to live and who gets to die.
Yet in spite of this conspiracy theory having been dissected, identified as false, mercilessly ridiculed and buried, America's lunatic fringe continues to unearth it and present it as fact over and over again.
The latest to do so is the reliably bigoted, even more reliably crazy Phyllis Schlafly, who took the conspiracy a step further by charging, not only that the death panels exist, but that the public education system is trying to "prepare us to accept death panels from Obamacare" as early as the 1980s.
Schlafly bases this claim on an Illinois high school’s sociology class and a Oregon health class assignment dating back to 1984, in which participants were assigned "to choose which of 10 people were 'worthy' of getting kidney dialysis when the hospital had only six machines. The assignment instructed the students, 'four people are not going to live. You must decide from the information below which six will survive.'
"The students were given the list of the 10 who desperately needed kidney dialysis with identification about their occupation, age and ethnicity, and told to give each a score," Schlafly charges. "The instructions stated: 'Put the people in order using 1-10, 1 being the person you want to save first and 10 being the person you would save last,' with the assumption that those getting scores 7 through 10 would be marked for death."
This, Schlafly charges, is proof that public schools have been trying to indoctrinate children for decades into accepting the death panel mandates that never existed.
The principal at the high school responded to a reporter from the conservative ChampionNews.net and explained that the assignment in question was meant to educate students on "social value biases" and "how people in our society unfortunately create biases based off of professions, race, gender, etc."