Ocasio-Cortez says ‘death panels’ exist in private health insurance market

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez on call to run for president: ‘How about … no’ Overnight Energy — Sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board — Oil lease sale in Alaska nets .5M | House climate panel likely won't pass bills | EPA hires new head of Chesapeake office Hillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — Officials warn of threat from Chinese spying | China blamed for Marriott hack | Trump open to intervening in Huawei case | FCC mulls ending merger ban on 'Big Four' networks | California floats tax on texts MORE (D-N.Y.) on Sunday referred to "death panels," which was popularized almost a decade ago by Sarah Palin, saying they exist in the private health insurance market.

"Actually, we have for-profit 'death panels' now: they are companies + boards saying you’re on your own bc they won’t cover a critical procedure or medicine," she wrote in a back-and-forth with the president of a conservative think tank on Twitter.

"Maybe if the GOP stopped hiding behind this 'socialist' rock they love to throw, they’d actually engage on-issue for once."

She made the "death panels" comment in response to Jim Hanson, the president of Security Studies Group, with whom she had been exchanging posts about the merits of further government intervention into health care.

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"Nice try," Hanson wrote in reply to Ocasio-Cortez's assertion that death panels exist. "But commercial insurance gives people choices about what coverages they want & decide to pay for."

"Your single payer nightmare will replace that with a one size fits none 'choice' decided by faceless bureaucrats," he wrote. "Coverage for all. Treatment for few."

"Ask the Brits how they love the #NHS," he wrote in a second reply. "You're all playing the Other People's $$$ will pay for it game."

"Free Healthcare ain't free."

Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, is one of several progressive freshman lawmakers who support "Medicare for all," a system that would extend government Medicare coverage to every American.

She said on Twitter earlier Sunday that Americans "don’t want overly complicated choice between pricey, low-quality plans."

"We want an affordable solution that covers our needs, like the rest of the modern world."

"Death panels" is a term coined by Palin in 2009, building on the work of economist Thomas Sowell, to describe governmental panels that ration care.

Many on the left have said Palin was unfair to use the term to characterize the repercussions of the Affordable Care Act.

Conservatives have taken up the term, pointing to the effects of government intervention into health-care systems in other countries such as Canada.

— This report was updated at 1:16 p.m.