The claim: Bill Gates told G-20 leaders that ‘death panels’ will soon be necessary
When the leaders of the Group of 20 – an international organization that brings together representatives of the world’s biggest economies – met for their annual summit earlier this month, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominated many conversations.
Some social media users, though, are claiming Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates spoke at the event and predicted “death panels” would soon be necessary because of the high cost of health care.
“Unelected world health czar Bill Gates has used his appearance at the G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, to raise a discussion about ‘death panels,’” the article says. “According to Gates, death panels will be necessary in the near future to end the lives of sick and unwell people due to ‘very, very high medical costs.’”
A Nov. 17 Instagram post includes a screenshot of the article and a video of Gates speaking about the cost of end-of-life health care.
But the claim is false. Gates was not present at the recent G-20 meeting. The video in the post is from 2010 and does not show Gates saying death panels would “soon be required.”
News Punch did not respond to a request for comment. The social media user who shared the post could not be reached for comment.
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Gates did not appear at G-20 meeting
Gates did not attend the recent G-20 summit, Karin Neighorn, a spokesperson for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, told USA TODAY.
Neighorn also said Gates has not announced that death panels would soon be necessary.
“That claim is false,” he said.
The video in the post is a clip of Gates talking at a 2010 event hosted by the Aspen Institute. Gates briefly mentions death panels while responding to a question about the cost of education and health care.
Death panels was a term used by opponents of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and it referred to decision-making bodies that would determine the fate of critically ill patients. These cost-cutting panels were made up, though; Obama never proposed creating them.
In the video, Gates says there is “a lack of willingness to say, ‘Is spending a million dollars on that last three months of life for that patient, would it be better not to lay off those 10 teachers and to make that trade-off in medical costs?’ But that’s called the death panel and you’re not supposed to have that discussion.”
Gates makes no other mention of death panels in the video and never predicts, as the post claims, that they will soon be necessary.
USA TODAY has debunked other claims about Gates, including baseless assertions that he was arrested by the U.S. military on sex trafficking charges, worked on a way to block the sun’s rays to fight climate change and tried to put microchips in people with COVID-19 vaccines.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Gates told G-20 leaders that “death panels” will soon be necessary. Gates did not attend or speak at this year’s G-20 summit. In addition, the video of Gates used to support the claim is from 2010, and while it shows him mentioning death panels, he does not predict they will “soon be required.”
Our fact-check sources:
- Karin Neighorn, Nov. 28, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- The New York Times, Nov. 15, What is the G20?
- USA TODAY, Nov. 16, At G-20, President Biden works to head off wider Russia crisis after missile kills two in Poland
- USA TODAY, Sept. 20, Fact check: Biden’s executive order will evaluate concept of a digital currency, not launch it
- USA TODAY, Feb. 18, Fact check: Posts mislead on Moderna CEO Twitter account, stock sales
- USA TODAY, Dec. 14, 2021, Fact check: Cold weather is associated with increased occurrence of heart attacks and blood clots
- C-SPAN, July 8, 2010, Bill Gates on Education and Health Care Systems
- USA TODAY, Oct. 26, 2020, Barack Obama recalls dealing with a global pandemic, facing racist comments in first memoir excerpt
- USA TODAY, Aug. 6, 2021, Fact check: Bill Gates was not arrested by the US military
- USA TODAY, April 23, 2021, Fact check: Bill Gates is not trying to ‘block the sun’s rays’ in the name of climate change
- USA TODAY, June 12, 2020, Fact check: Bill Gates is not planning to microchip the world through a COVID-19 vaccine
- Associated Press, Nov. 18, Posts misrepresent 2010 clip of Bill Gates discussing health care
- PolitiFact, Nov. 21, No, philanthropist Bill Gates didn’t say death panels ‘will soon be required’
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