Post misrepresents 2010 clip of Bill Gates discussing health care

Claim: A video shows billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates telling world leaders at the 2022 G-20 summit that “death panels” will soon be needed.

AP Assessment: False. The clip shows Gates discussing health care and education systems at a forum hosted by the non-partisan, nonprofit think tank Aspen Institute in 2010, not at the G-20 meeting in Indonesia this week. While Gates referred to so-called “death panels”—a pejorative term used by opponents of the Affordable Care Act—he was explaining why discussion about the cost of end-of-life care had become taboo. He never supported this idea.

Fact: Social media users are sharing a 12-year-old clip of Gates with the false claim that the Microsoft co-founder appeared on stage. Annual G-20 meeting of world leaders to announce this week that so-called “death panels” will soon be needed.

The term “death panel” has been used by critics to characterize a provision in former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act when it was still a proposal.

Early drafts of the bill included a provision that would allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. In 2009, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claimed it was the equivalent of creating a “death panel” and said it would allow government officials to decide whether sick people were to live, The Associated Press has reported,

Clips circulated online this week show Gates sitting in a chair against a red background, speaking into a microphone. “Because of the very, very high medical costs and the lack of willingness to say: ‘We’re spending a million dollars on the last three months of that patient’s life, wouldn’t it be better not to fire those 10 teachers and make that trade? — locked in medical costs?'” he asks, in part, “but it’s called a death panel and you’re not supposed to have that discussion.”

An Instagram post sharing the clip included a screenshot of an article titled: “Bill Gates tells G20 world leaders ‘death panels’ will soon be needed.”

The article’s subtitle states, “Unelected world health emperor Bill Gates uses his appearance at G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia to stir up discussion about ‘death panels’.” “Death panels will be necessary in the near future to end the lives of the sick and unwell due to ‘very, very high medical costs’, according to Gates.”

However, there is no truth in these claims. Gates did not make the comments at the G-20 summit in Bali, which was held Thursday and Friday for leaders of the world’s top 20 economies, nor did he say that “death panels” would be needed “soon”. ”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that it did not attend the meeting, but declined to comment further. According to one, Gates was in Kenya at the time Tweet he posted on Wednesday,

clip actually shows Gates on a 2010 event organized by The Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado. footage of the full discussion Posted by on YouTube shows that he was being interviewed by Walter Isaacson, then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, about education and health care systems. Isaacson asks Gates whether he thinks the proportion of GDP going to health care is over-allocated.

Gates points out that the US was spending 17% of its GDP on health despite “poor health care outcomes” and greater inequality than other “wealthy countries”.

Gates continues by saying that as medical costs rise in state and federal Medicaid spending, it puts an emphasis on other areas. He gives the example of education, saying that the high cost of end-of-life care funded by state and federal programs cuts into funding for other things like teacher salaries.

He then suggests that public discussion about money at the end of life be considered taboo and is called a “death panel” by some, giving the response seen in the clip circulating on social media.

Nowhere in the exchange does Gates say that the so-called panels will be “needed in the near future”, as has been falsely suggested.

And nothing in the Affordable Care Act proposal would call for such a panel, the AP reported. 2009 fact-check,

The provision at the center of the debate would have authorized Medicare to pay doctors to counsel patients about end-of-life care, including conversations about living wishes, transferring their health to a close relative or a trusted friend. Includes creating a care delegation and learning about hospice. Substitutes for the seriously ill. The proposal would have also blocked funding for counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option. The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.


It’s part of the AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, which includes working with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking on AP,


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