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The Truth About Health Care

I'm back from two weeks of vacationing up north, and in getting back into the swing of everyday life, I'm also getting back into checking the news more regularly.  And I'm shocked and disgusted by the tone of the health care debate.  This issue is too important for our nation's health, for our children's future, and for our economic stability.  We can't be basing decisions on the egregious lies being put forward by right wing critics of the Obama Administration, NOR can we allow distortions and exaggerations from the left to shape whatever legislation Congress eventually passes.  The status quo is unacceptable.  We have to change our current system.  That old cliche we hear all the time from our politicians -- "America still has the best health care system in the world" -- simply isn't true anymore.  Whether measured in cost (as a percentage of GPD, or on a per capita basis), efficiency, access, or the health of the populace (infant mortality, disease rates, etc.) our health care system rates no better than average when compared with the systems of other industrialized nations.

So I would urge all of you to go here:  http://www.politifact.org/truth-o-meter/subjects/health/

Politifact.org is a nonpartisan, Pulitzer prize-winning web site that is devoted to separating fact from rhetoric.  As you'll see when you visit the link above, the site points out distortions from Democrats and Republicans.  It points out the places where Barack Obama has said things that are false, or instances of flipflops on the President's part.  It also points out lies from the right (which have been far more frequent and serious on this issue).  If you are serious about debating health care reform, go here first and get your facts straight.  Is the program proposed by Congress going to be expensive?  Absolutely.  Do we know how it will be paid for?  No, not yet.  


Will illegal immigrants be given free health care?  Absolutely not.  Will Granny by put to death to save costs?  No.  Is the Democratic plan "Socialized Medicine" based on the British system?  No.

Read up.  Learn the truth.  Then talk about it.  Speak TO people, not at them.  Let's do this like grown-ups.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
No Soylent Grannies? Ah, gee.... *grin*

Great message, David. I went and found the bill online, and I'm slowly reading through it (it's 1018 pages, so my going is slow) so that when I talk to people, I know what I'm really talking about.
Aug. 10th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
Wow, reading the actual bill all the way through!!! You're braver than I am.
Aug. 9th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
My former husband unfortunately struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder and he had a breakdown this week that landed him in the hospital. I visited him yesterday and he said that the billing department had already come down to see him to explain payment plans. I told him, next time you decide you need help, go to a spa. It costs about the same and it's much better care.

I can barely stand to read the news about this situation it makes me so frustrated. Can't we put politics aside and actually do something helpful for once??? Arrrgh
Aug. 9th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
My sister had a baby on July 1, by caesarian section. Less than an hour after they'd moved her out of recovery and into her room, the billing specialist was there with a stack of papers, asking her to write a check for her copay. She was still loopy from the anesthesia, for goodness' sake!

Aug. 10th, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
>>I can barely stand to read the news about this situation it makes me so frustrated. Can't we put politics aside and actually do something helpful for once???<<

I think that there are A LOT of people who feel this way. I think ultimately health reform will pass, although it remains to be seen what form it takes.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
I am pretty sure something will pass, too, but the wedge is being driven deep at the moment. Hundreds of people were in Downtown Raleigh this weekend protesting Healthcare Reform in ANY form by the sound of it. Why are people in such a hurry to listen to propaganda and then act against their own interests? Don't answer that, it will just depress me.
Aug. 9th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
Forgive me for putting my oar in: I'm a foreigner (British.) I cannot understand why America does not realise that a national health service is an investment for the whole country. A healthy workforce is a more productive workforce.

Yes, I know, that's naive when so many vested interests are more concerned with making money from the health business than with anything else. It is very sad. You guys deserve so much better.

I apologise if you think this is none of my business!!
Aug. 9th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
You're right, we do deserve better. Where no national health service is optimal, not allowing all our citizens access to decent healthcare is criminal.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Hey, we're Americans -- putting in our opinions where they're not wanted is our specialty. How could we deny you the chance to do the same?

You're absolutely right in what you say. And I should explain that I don't think "Socialized Medicine" is a fair characterization of the British system, nor do I believe that adopting something akin to your system would be a bad idea. But for some reason people are terrified of this happening, and I was just pointing out in my post that the bills currently before Congress don't go nearly this far.
Aug. 9th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
I've already received one of those ridiculous spam emails claiming we're all going to euthanized if the Dem's healthcare bill passes. I sent the sender and recipients of the email to Snopes so they can sort out the truth. A couple contacted me privately and thanked me for speaking out. I just can't stand folks not doing their homework. If they think out healthcare system is so great, spend a night in a big city E.R. and watch the number of uninsured folks waiting to see a doc.

Aug. 10th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, and the idea (repeated in a comment below) that somehow ER care is a suitable substitute for real health insurance is ludicrous.
Aug. 9th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
You can't speak TO someone, or have a dialog, when they're literally screaming RNC talking points in your face.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
You're right, Mark. It takes two to have a dialogue. I'm just saying that both sides have to listen. This issue needs to be debated; name-calling and lies make serious policy discussions impossible.
Aug. 10th, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
David. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You've said what I've been saying elsewhere, but you've said with a gravitas that I do not have.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
That's the problem isn't it, with many issues? People listen to who they normally listen to and immediately tune out the other side. The screaming by the loons only solidifies positions and no one talks about facts. It's all about the 'win'.

There's a diary up that counters the most obnoxious (see Palin saying Obama would kill her kid?) distortions from the right.


My favorite line was the guy who shouted that he wanted the Government to keeps its hands off his Medicare. Wow, just wow.

Thanks for the link.

I am a little disturbed by the networks allowing certain ads from CPR, etc... and not allowing others. Seems too much like they have a stake in this, beyond just being citizens. That's bothersome.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Gov't/Medicare comment was totally classic. Talk about not getting it! Thanks for the link.
Aug. 10th, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
My object to this healthcare bill is both financial and philosophical. We can't pay for it. While there has been some measure of success in other countries with much smaller populations, there also have been many disasters. I also feel that it is not the government's role to provide total healthcare for people.

There is some amount of rationing done by healthcare companies currently to save costs. Imagine the amount of costs if Obama's Plan goes through as is and all/everything is covered. In addition, imagine if the people overseeing the expenses of a runa way program also make the laws and raise the taxes. It will be a nightmare.

Based on how the government runs other programs such as Social Security, Medicare/Mediaid, the VA Hospitals, and Welfare; this proposal really scares me.

In truth, we already have some measure of Universial Care. If you have an emergency, you can go to the ER for basic treatment. You cannot be turned away due to lack of ability to pay.

I could maybe support a program of preventive care aimed at avoiding diseases and sickness, but I then fear that it would expand eventually to what is being proposed.
Aug. 10th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
Oh, forgot to add that I could support a properly supervised and funded bill to cover children's care. Children are highly unlikely to develop high expense illnesses due to anything that they have done to themselves and they have not had the opportunity to prepare for their own medical care. Plus they are kids... gotta love em. *grin*
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
The only problem is that the ERs are pushed to the brink of their ability to cope. Spending hours waiting to see a doctor is just not a good way to manage resources and more times than not the patient will not make the effort until they are gruesomely ill. So much for preventative medicine.

I'm not convinced I want the Gov't handling my healthcare needs, but my distrust of the insurance companies is greater. They're one of the reasons I walked away from nursing all those years ago.

As for paying for it -- good point. Unfortunately, we pay for it one way or another in lost productivity and long term health issues as our population ages.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comments, Mark. This is the type of dialogue that can be constructive. That said, I'll go ahead and disagree with a couple of your points here. One is your point about government run programs. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are, on the whole, two of the best run programs you're likely to find anywhere. Are they perfect? Of course not, but there's a reason why no one ever wants to see them cut or eliminated. There's a reason why even Ronald Reagan failed in his attempts to get rid of them or even cut them back. They work. Very well. And they have a strong, committed, happy constituency. As pointed out above, there was the ridiculous sight at a recent town hall meeting of an older man saying that he wanted Government to keep its hands off his Medicare. Laughable as that is, it supports my point. Those programs work.

The VA hospitals have always suffered from insufficient funds more than anything else. And welfare is such a huge, vague term, I find it hard to argue one way or another for it. The food stamp program has had its share of fraud, but it too has survived GOP presidencies because it has been, on the whole, successful. So has unemployment insurance. Other aspects of "welfare have been far less successful. But, and this is key, it's not as though private institutions work well universally while government programs don't. If this recession and the corporate scandals that preceded it (Enron, and others) have taught us anything, it's that unfettered private enterprise can't be trusted. People are worried about the government making mistakes or standing in between patients and their doctors. My insurance company does that now, and frankly I think that a government program could serve my family and me better for less money.

And finally, the idea that ER is a suitable alternative to Universal Care just doesn't wash. The costs are astronomical and they're passed along to those of us who pay for health care through the usual channels. A public option covering the uninsured would be, in the long run, far, far cheaper than the ER approach, not only because of the direct costs, but also because the ER approach is the ultimate expression of reactive rather than preventative medicine. Add to that the extreme waiting times, the fact that people getting more routine attention this way can delay urgent care to those who really need an ER, and the fact that ER care can't ever be as thorough or beneficial as care from a doctor with whom one has a true rapport and history, and it really is not a viable alternative.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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David B. Coe

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