Myths, distortions, and bald-faced lies about President Obama’s proposed health care reform have been cynically promoted by the insurance industry and right-wing extremists for several weeks now. And to some partisans, killing health care reform by whatever tactics are necessary is simply a way to derail the Obama presidency.
Evidence is now emerging that these falsehoods – amplified by millions of dollars in special interest advertising and the 24-hour news cycle – have begun to set in among otherwise conscientious citizens, threatening our reform efforts.
As the debate over national health care reform has grown increasingly heated, it’s become more and more difficult to separate fact from fiction based on newspaper accounts alone, despite journalists’ best efforts. In that spirit, here are a few points people should know the truth about before reform comes up for final votes in Congress.
When you or a loved one is incapacitated near the end of life and unable to make decisions, would you like to have your family involved in making the relevant decisions about your care or making sure your wishes are carried out? Some versions of health care reform bills encourage doctors to offer counseling to help you prepare for this type of situation. If you support that, you should support health care reform – and you should definitely ignore disingenuous or misinformed opponents of reform who try to scare you with bogus stories about so-called “death panels.”
Some versions of health care reform contain language about eligibility for health care that is similar to language found in George W. Bush’s Medicare Part D bill from 2003. As any reasonable person would expect, this language restricts eligibility to U.S. citizens and those living in America legally. Yet many of the very same Republicans who voted for Bush´s Medicare bill now oppose President Obama´s health care reform because they wrongly claim it would give benefits to people who are in America without proper legal paperwork. These claims don´t add up, and they deserve to be ignored.