Remember when Sarah Palin was ridiculed as an alarmist nut job for suggesting Obamacare would usher in “death panels”? The New York Times called the “false ‘death panel’ rumor” a “boogey-man spell” that “resonated with some impressionable folk.”

Impressionable folk like Obama’s former “Car Czar” Steven Rattner?

We need death panels.

Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.

But in the pantheon of toxic issues — the famous “third rails” of American politics — none stands taller than overtly acknowledging that elderly Americans are not entitled to every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical.

Hold on … the savior in chief’s health care overhaul won’t work without death panels doling out an Obama-approved “fair share” of health care?

But, but, that means the unthinkable!

The New York Times published Rattner’s op-ed earlier this month, but it’s making its way around the conservative Twittersphere today after Rush Limbaugh and Power Line both noted, “Sarah Palin was right.”

Rattner touts Britain’s rationing body, the Orwellian-named NICE, as a model for making “stomach-wrenching” choices about the distribution of health care.

Take Britain, which provides universal coverage with spending at proportionately almost half of American levels. Its National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence uses a complex quality-adjusted life year system to put an explicit value (up to about $48,000 per year) on a treatment’s ability to extend life.

At the least, the Independent Payment Advisory Board should be allowed to offer changes in services and costs. We may shrink from such stomach-wrenching choices, but they are inescapable.

Medicare is unsustainable and difficult choices are in our future no matter which candidate wins the presidential election. But as Palin wrote in her now-famous Facebook note on “death panels”:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost.

Still strike you as paranoid and alarmist, libs? Steven Rattner doesn’t think so.