August 10, 2009

Health care: subcategory, making stuff up

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Today’s topic:  The health care debate.

Category: Making stuff up.

Timing: August

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”  — Sarah Palin

“Death panels? Seriously? Could Palin see the Soviet gulag from her house?” Asks Denver Post columnist Mike Litwin.

Writing in the LA Times, columnist David Lazarus points out the anti-ad featuring the Canadian woman who fled fled to the U.S. to get treated for a brain tumor. “I’m here today because I was able to travel to the U.S., where I received world-class treatment,” she says. “Government health care isn’t the answer.” Lazarus points out that the problems with this ad include the fact that no one is proposing Canadian style health care for the U.S. Canada offers it citizens a single-payer insurance program, not medical treatment, and a single-payer insurance system isn’t part of the leading proposals now on the table here. Lazarus goes on to point out that  health care proponents have let the antis take the upper hand, failing to point out that combined, with Medicare, Medicaid, veterans programs and business subsidies, the federal governmental already pays for about 60 percent of health costs in this country.

Then there’s the folks who say Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer wants to kill your grandmother.

This comes from language in the 1,200-page House bill that allows Medicare to pay for end-of-life consultations for seniors, write Bill Graves and Charles Pope in The Oregonian. The measure has bipartisan support and “has been praised by doctors, patients, and professional groups, from AARP to the American College of Physicians, to the Consumers Union,” the reporters note.

“Some of these people know full well what they are saying is false,” Blumenauer said, “and they don’t care.”

Meanwhile, today’s New York Times contains a helpful primer on health care reform that takes a run at sorting fact from fiction. “Increasingly, the battle looks like a presidential contest, with expensive advertising campaigns and Internet-driven efforts to mobilize local support,” reporters Robert Pear and David M. Herszenhorn write.

Take a look. It’s a worthy effort that comes at a good time in this debate.

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