Health care Politics The Opinionsphere

The Smearing of Ezekiel Emanuel

One of the more extraordinary things in the current distraction that is the right-wing response to health insurance reform is the smearing of Ezekial Emanuel. He’s quite an interesting figure – and the views being attributed to him are actually exactly the opposite of the ones he has consisently held for many years…

Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic:

In the course of his writings, which span academia and popular publications, he has argued forcefully and clearly against physician-assisted suicide. Yet somehow Emanuel finds himself accused of–wait for it–advocating physician assisted suicide.

Michael Scherer in Time:

“I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” says Emanuel, who [spent] his career opposing euthanasia and working to increase the quality of care for dying patients…

In herĀ Post article, McCaughey paints the worst possible image of Emanuel, quoting him, for instance, endorsing age discrimination for health-care distribution, without mentioning that he was only addressing extreme cases like organ donation, where there is an absolute scarcity of resources. She quotes him discussing the denial of care for people with dementia without revealing that Emanuel only mentioned dementia in a discussion of theoretical approaches, not an endorsement of a particular policy. She notes that he has criticized medical culture for trying to do everything for a patient, “regardless of the cost or effects on others,” without making clear that he was not speaking of lifesaving care but of treatments with little demonstrated value. “No one who has read what I have done for 25 years would come to the conclusions that have been put out there,” says Emanuel. “My quotes were just being taken out of context.”

Alex Koppelman in Salon also took on the smears.