I was vaguely aware of this debate, but wasn't following it closely. After all, I had more important things to do. I had tentatively concluded, from secondary sources alone, that Sarah Palin had grossly distorted HR 3200's provisions on advanced care planning. But prompted by a comment thread at Jockeystreet, I have dug into the text of the bill and compared it to Sarah Palin's comment.
It's fair to call Palin's statement a lie:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
The bill contains a provision for government regulation of advance care planning and it mildly incentivizes the practice. But there are no panels which determine whether or not an individual should die, nor is the individual's value to society measured and weighed as part of that panel's deliberations.
At that point, Palin is simply horrendously wrong about the bill. What makes her statement transcend from wrong to lie is her use of quotation marks. Who is she quoting? It's not clear, but their presence and placement within the post suggest that she's quoting the bill. She's not. Those words and and phrases do not appear anywhere in the bill. And to suggest that they do is a lie.
Palin's follow-up post is more reasonable and quotes the bill. But it is directly at odds with the wild and baseless allegations that she made in her initial post.
There are good reasons to oppose HR 3200. Imaginary death panels determining whether very sick or disabled people live or die is not one of them.