J. Bradford DeLong: Budgeting and Macroeconomic Policy: A Primer
Sara Robinson on Contraception in Historical Perspective

Dutch Health Policy Edition: Republicans Lie All the Time, About Everything

Robert Mackey:

Dutch Puzzled by Santorum's False Claim of Forced Euthanasia: The Dutch Embassy in Washington declined to comment on Wednesday on recent remarks by Rick Santorum, the Republican presidential candidate, in which he claimed, falsely, that forced euthanasia accounts for 5 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands. An embassy spokeswoman, Carla Bundy, explained that the Dutch government preferred not to intervene in an American political campaign. But Ms. Bundy did provide The Lede with documents and official statistics showing that there are no provisions of Dutch law that permit forced euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia, which has been legal since 2002, accounted for about 2 percent of deaths in the Netherlands in 2010.

As Jonathan Turley, a legal blogger, explained on Monday, the Dutch law permitting euthanasia is unambiguous about the requirement that it be voluntary, and lawmakers mandated that each case be carefully reviewed by an expert panel…. As the Web site Buzzfeed reported, Mr. Santorum’s erroneous comments, made at a public forum hosted by the conservative leader James Dobson on Feb. 3, failed to attract much notice until they were fact-checked, and mocked, in the Dutch press last weekend…. [A] video showed Mr. Santorum claiming that elderly Dutch people wear a bracelet reading “Do not euthanize me.” Over audible gasps from the audience, he continued:

Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year — and it’s 10 percent of all deaths for the Netherlands — half of those people are euthanized involuntarily, at hospitals, because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital, they go to another country, because they’re afraid because of budget purposes that they will not come out of that hospital if they go into it with sickness.

As Buzzfeed noted, Dutch journalists found it easy to refute Mr. Santorum’s statistics, and made fun of his “fact-free” claim that euthanasia was forced on anyone, but they had no idea where he got the idea that the nation’s elderly wear “Do not euthanize me” bracelets…. Mr. Santorum’s campaign did not respond to a request to explain who or what the candidate’s sources were…. At the end of his post, Mr. Turley, the legal blogger, concluded:

Putting aside these tiny factual disagreements, it is good to finally see a politician willing to take on our greatest threat: the Dutch. Dutch propagandists like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh have already infiltrated our schools and museums. Our leaders (except Santorum) are deaf to the growing sound of their wooden-shoe stomping, marzipan-eating hordes.