Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm's brother, fights death panel health care smears


WASHINGTON -- Ezekiel Emanuel is a noted oncologist, bioethicist, older brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, an Obama administration health policy adviser -- and the target of smears by Sarah Palin and other critics of Democratic health care legislation. He's now fighting back.

"I'm sure it doesn't hurt that he's my brother to make me a target," Emanuel, a former West Rogers Park resident, told me Thursday.

Emanuel is no "Dr. Death," though he has published a lot on end-of-life issues. He is an opponent of legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

In recent weeks, Emanuel has been accused -- falsely -- of advocating those so-called death panels you may have been hearing about in the swelling coverage of raucous town hall meetings and debate over President Obama's health care overhaul measures pending in Congress.

"Certainly on the death panels one, there is no way you could get that out of my writings at all. It is not just a misinterpretation. That's a fabrication," Emanuel said.

Emanuel and I discussed the uproar in a phone interview -- he is vacationing in northern Italy.

"I think it is pretty absurd and surreal, really. It's completely twisting my writing, and I venture to say that most of the people who are commenting probably have not read them in detail, since certainly death panels are very far from anything I've ever advocated. I've been an opponent of euthanasia, and I have dedicated 25 years of my career to improving care for patients who are facing the last months and weeks of their life," Emanuel said.

"As far as rationing goes, it's nothing I've ever advocated for the health system as a whole, and I've talked about rationing only in the context of situations where you have limited items, like limited livers or limited vaccine, and not for overall health care."

One proposal in a House bill calls for adding a patient benefit to Medicare -- the national insurance program covering seniors -- paying a doctor once every five years to discuss end-of-life issues. That provision is a tiny part of a very large bill.

Emanuel noted that the American Medical Association and most other major medical organizations recommend such discussions.

"This is far from being outside the mainstream. People think it is a good thing for doctors to talk to patients about their preferences."

Emanuel said articles in medical journals he wrote did not, contrary to Palin's suggestion, suggest that treatment be withheld from children like her Down syndrome baby, Trig, and that the use of selective quotes created a distorted picture.

Emanuel said he has not talked to Obama about these medical ethics questions. Brother Rahm does use him as a health policy resource.

"He calls me, he yells at me and calls me an idiot. But that is usual for Rahm. That is a sign of endearment.


Sarah was right to denounce “death panels.”

Ezekiel Emmanuel has written that the right to abortion should extend to children 2 years of age, and people over 50 years of age should at times be denied life-saving treatment because of cost!

Don’t trust Obama! Nothing he says has meaning because he can’t be trusted.

Watch this video. You’ll see obama lie like a dog in his very own words.

People need to wake up and see this lying fraud for who he is, an America hating, Saudi King bowing, dictator loving, former cocaine addict,racist Kenyan usurper dirt-bag Chicago thug!

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel hasn't told OMB anything about Advance Care that Newt Gingrich hasn't proposed himself.


I urge you to read Mr. Emanual's "Complete Lives System." You'll find that he proposes "substantial" medical attention for those between the ages of 15 to 40, while the rest of us would receive "attenuated" services. You'll also be shocked perhaps on his thoughts of treatment of infants vis-a-vis adolescents.
You'll find contrary to Ms. Sweets column Mr. Emanual has not been accused...falsely. P

Palin has no interest in health care reform. She is just a stooge for the Republican party. And each of her latest statements contains distortions and lies. There are related posts at

Veritas was the first casualty. Those considered by government to be unproductive will be next. By thier fruits you shall know them.


Obama-Care is Now Hiring! Get off unemployment, today!
Get out of that low paying dead end rut of a job as a part-time ACORN vote fraud manipulator.

And get into the exciting high paying field as an Obama-Care End of Life Counselor. You'll earn TOP DOLLAR preventing low valued members of society from receiving expensive, unnecessary life extending or "experimental" care. Just counsel these people into excepting an earlier death and help keep everyone, including undocumented immigrants covered under the OBAMA-CARE RATIONED HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

If you don't believe he's in favor of killing old people just look it up for yourself.

Here's a quote from a paper he published in a left-wing newsletter:

Dr. Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens....An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.”
Dr. Emanuel has also advocated basing medical decisions on a system which “produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.”

Sarah Palin is dumb as a box of rocks. Her interviews with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson proved that. Why with so many smart women in the world are we even given that empty head the time of day? If she is the best the Republicans can do, they're in trouble.

Tom S--your comment is AWESOME!

In case no one has noticed, the "Death Panels" are on the Boards of the insurance companies and drug companies. A few years ago I was denied medical insurance by a large insurer because of a pre-existing condition called "menopause."

All the rest of the rhetoric being thrown around is just claptrap. Just give the guy in charge, who has only been at it for nine months, some leverage and time to smooth the way to a good plan for all.

Stop listening to the Republican jerks who want to make the USA a third world country. They say not, but their put downs say it all.

Somebody's Lying here, don't you think.

When government gets control of the money, they will start squeezing it to reduce cost. This will create scarcity in the system, same as a vaccine or organ shortage. This will trigger these radical rules and folks that fall outside of the 15-40 group will be out of luck...unless they can afford to pay for it themselves and private providers are not made illegal.

At the absolute very WORST, if "Complete Lives System" is fact and if it becomes standard, then Obama will be doing precisely what anti-Obama people claim to want: screwing the average-poor on medical care.

Yay, Obama.

1. Private insurance will be available to all. NO public option! F off. Everyone pays. Some sliding scale, until Republicans remove that too.

2. If you have MONEY, you can get all the care you want. MONEY buys LOVE too.

3. If you don't have gobs of money, if you Broke azz mf-er, you'll be in 2nd tier or 3rd tier with basic but limited services. Shitcare, Inc.

When Insurcos have government standards for rationing, instead of willy-nilly rationing, the rationing will be somewhat more rational and consistent than today, and will be MANDATED so Insurcos will no longer have to worry about rude clients whining about or protesting decisions to let them die.

Bush did something similar in Texas when he gave Insurcos the exclusive right to decide when to take babies off life support.


Why are Republicans complaining about Obama letting private Insurcos make all the decisions, and have their profits protected? That's what YOU guys lobby FOR!!

It's possible that Obama will push for something slightly more humanitarian, perhaps like even Mexico has for it's poor, but considering who funded his campaign (and it was not Marxists!!!!), that's unlikely as Bush or Cheney putting sanctions on oil companies and Halliburton subsidiaries.

I truly hope I'm just being overly cynical, but I doubt that.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 14, 2009 12:49 PM.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Aug. 14, 2009. Montana health town hall was the previous entry in this blog.

Samantha Power tapped by Obama to coordinate Iraqi refugee efforts is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.