Mike Madden at Salon.com puts the lie to five major myths peddled by the cranky Rightists who can't come up with a plan of their own to fix the failing health care system. Before you go to yell at your Congressperson, check this list:
"Myth 1: Democrats want to kill your grandmother." Bunk: H.R. 3200 would pay for end-of-life consultations that Medicare doesn't cover now. No one has to get such consultations, but 75% of seniors say such consultations are important. Plus, they would help save money as seniors would be able to give clear instructions on what care they want in case they are unable to communicate those desires in the hospital. Gee, sounds like increasing patient rights to me.
"Myth 2: The government -- i.e., you -- will have to pay for abortions." I hear Senator John Thune is perpetuating this lie in his written responses to constituent questions (anyone with a such a letter, please scan and forward!). There is no abortion language in the pending legislation—or if there is by the time you read this, it's likely keester-covering amendments from legislators pandering to the anti-abortion crowd. And you know what? If you have employer-based insurance, there's an 87% chance you're already paying for abortions.
"Myth 3: Obama will ban all private health insurance." I had this lie nailed the moment it came out. Mullen backs me up; PolitiFact shouts "Liar liar pants on fire!"... and John Walker still hasn't apologized or retracted his lies. Such are the tactics of professed "patriots" who can't win with the truth.
"Myth 4: The government can't possibly run a healthcare program." Enemies of health care reform like to make vague accusations of how the government can't run anything right. They ignore facts like the Veterans Administration's recognized position as the best health care in America. They ignore the fact that the VA outscores private-sector health care on independent studies of customer satisfaction. They ignore the fact that lots of the folks yelling at the town halls are on Medicare and don't want to give up their government-run health coverage. They ignore reality.
"Myth 5: Unlike private insurance, government bureaucrats will ration care." Mullen deflates this myth thus:
Of course, there are already plenty of faceless hacks denying people care right now; they just work for private insurance companies, not the government, and they're denying care because that helps keep the insurers' profit margins up. At a recent House hearing, just three insurance companies testified that they had "rescinded" -- or dropped -- coverage for nearly 20,000 patients between 2003 and 2007, often after patients had submitted claims they thought would be covered. Even Republicans seem to know the insurance companies can be bad. "I would always rather the devil I know than the devil I don't know," House GOP boss John Boehner said last week, explaining why going after the government works even though private insurance companies would seem to be just as much of a villain [Mike Mullen, "Obama Wants to Kill Your Grandma: Five Right-Wing Myths about Healthcare Reform, and the Facts," Salon.com, 2009.08.06].
Let's have an open, vigorous debate about health care reform this month. Let's pack DakotaFest and any other forums where Herseth Sandlin, Thune, and Johnson may appear and ask them a whole heck of a lot of questions. (Questions about health care at DakotaFest are fair game, since farmers and ranchers and all of rural America desperately need a good public option.)
But in honor of the American solider, or the flag, or democracy, or whatever trips your moral trigger, stop making stuff up.