McCain takes up 'death panel' charge on floor

Former GOP presidential nominee John McCain (Ariz.) used Saturday's floor debate on healthcare to repeat the controversial "death panel" charge for which his running mate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has been heavily criticized.

In a scripted exchange with Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), McCain assailed a recent recommendation by a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services panel that women receive regular mammograms once they reach 50 years of age, instead of the traditional 40. McCain used that to revive a criticism of the Democratic-written healthcare bill that Palin raised over the summer, that advisory boards could create polices that would make them become "death panels."

"Isn't that the kind of advisory board that this legislation could put into law, that those kinds of mandates could come down which could literally jeopardize the health and lives of Americans?" McCain asked Barrasso.


Barrasso's wife is a breast cancer survivor, a fact he referenced.

"This type of legislation would have cost my wife her life," Barrasso said. "She is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed by a routine screening mammogram. And she was in her 40s when that mammogram was performed... It was a screening mammogram that saved her life."

A grinning McCain then asked, "You would not describe that as a death panel?"

Barrasso replied, "Some people might."