Not to (you should pardon the expression) beat a dead horse, but one of the reasons that "Death Panels" struck such a resounding chord is because of CARS.
We've all watched the past few weeks while the gummint's ill-advised (and even more poorly implemented) program to turn perfectly serviceable older vehicles into new car sales has itself been traded in. Of course, no one called the program by it's actual name: the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 (CARS). No, we immediately glommed onto the completely unauthorized and unofficial term "cash for clunkers." I defy any reader to find that term in the enabling legislation.
I'll save you some time: it ain't in there.
But that didn't make the program any less well-known or "successful." The reason it became such a joke is precisely because that new title became an unstoppable meme, with the added bonus that it happened to be spot-on accurate.
And that is exactly why "Death Panel" was effective: it accurately summarized the insidious nature of the bill, its intent and implementation, in a way that was instantly understandable and recognizable to the citizenry. They saw how the government viewed serviceable vehicles creeping past their prime, listened to Ezekiel Emanuel (Rahmbo's brother, and an advisor to the president) when he wrote that "health care should be rationed in a way that “promot[es] and reward[s] social usefulness,” [<- 6/30/10: new, working link] and that age could play a factor in determining who can and cannot access health-care resources."
It's really a very small and valid leap from there to "Death Panels."
Of course the term itself never shows up in the bill; what boots it? There were no shadowy, hooded figures coming out to announce "sorry, Mr Smith, you're denied." Such verbiage was unnecessary: all that was necessary was to pass the concept (just as the term "cash for clunkers" is nowhere to be found in HR1550).
And just how has C4C worked out? Well, it's run out of money (even with an extension) and is due to be shut down in a few days. In the meantime, it's left in its brief wake thousands of now useless vehicles (which can't even be scavenged for parts or donated to charity), thousand of dealers who have no idea when (or, perhaps, even if) they'll be paid, and a public which sees first-hand how ObamaCare can be expected to perform.
Not a pretty picture.