Then some political genius decided the Republicans could get a lot of mileage out of calling them "Death Panels" though they weren't. Palin, Gingrich, the lot of them immediately joined the chorus.
It was a lie.
The US spends 17 1/2% GDP on medical care pre-Obamacare. That's the highest in the world going away. Yet the US has the lowest life expectancy in the Western developed world. France and Switzerland spend around 12% GDP on medical care. For that they get Universal Care, years longer life expectancy, and no necessary employer involvement. Switzerland has a mostly private insurance system, France is Single-Payer like a Medicare for all. Medical care plus finance in the US eat an unsustainable 1/4 US GDP.
Republican Representative Ryan's answer to that in his Medicare replacement plan is that people should ideally die in net worth order and US life expectancy should be cut 4-5 years. Now that's a Death Panel.....
Gingrich had an article in the Washington Post describing it the future of medical care only one month before the start of the "Death Panel" campaign. Bush II's pharma bill that passed a Republican Congress favorably mentioned them.