Sarah Palin coined a term, "death panels", that refers to some fictional body that, under Obamacare, would determine if old people get the care that they need under nationalized health care, of if they would die. But the real "death panels" are the HMOs. In California, more than one in every five patients are rejected for treatment by their insurance company. This has resulted in a very lucrative business, in $15.9 billion in profits reported in 2008 alone. This is a press release that describes, in addition to the denial rates of the individual insurance companies, several tragic stories in which people were initially denied for care by the insurance company, then in the wake of protest, the insurance company would reverse the decision, but by then it was too late.
This speech by Obama tonight is a joke. The media is talking about what he has to say in order to gain lost ground, but the ground should never have been lost to begin with. As a President with a wide margin of victory, and control of both houses of Congress (with a filibuster-proof Senate, no less), this debate should have been contained from the beginning. But as the Democrats always tend to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they let the wingnuts set the agenda and the tone, and it might well be impossible to take back the reins now.