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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Mythos That Is Pushing The Fringe And What Our Townhall Strategy Should Be

It is becoming common parlance within the conservative movement that there will be "death panels", that care will be rationed, that people will interfere with coverage, all without realizing that what they fear is already happening.

There are those that claim that illegal immigrants will be covered, that simply because you can walk into an emergency room, that THAT means that you have guaranteed coverage. Even down to the preposterous claim that since people from overseas come here to get healthcare that this is the penultimate signifier that our healthcare system is obviously head and shoulders above everyone else in the world.

This, to put it bluntly, is fucking false.

Let's take a look and a listen.

It has been postulated that only a small minority will benefit from any style of healthcare reform. However.....

Insurance companies currently rescind policies when their insured customers need treatment. Insurance companies restrict or deny coverage by rescinding health insurance policies on the grounds that customers had undisclosed pre-existing conditions. On June 16, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee held a hearing exploring this practice, with the goal of examining "the practice of 'post-claims underwriting,' which occurs when insurance companies cancel individual health insurance policies after providers submit claims for medical services rendered." The committee also released a memorandum finding that three major American insurance companies rescinded 19,776 policies for over $300 million in savings over five years and that even that number "significantly undercounts the total number of rescissions" by the companies.

Currently, insurance companies deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen wrote in a May 14 CNN.com article, "According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 21 percent of people who apply for health insurance on their own get turned down, charged a higher price or offered a plan that excludes coverage for their pre-existing condition. ... The health insurance industry doesn't deny that people are rejected or charged higher premiums because of pre-existing conditions."


And now, Limbaugh, in his continual Jabba The Hutt impersonation will tell his seething throngs of prattle-heads what they want to hear about healthcare reform and gets the whole mess complete wrong.



And where was Rush's righteous indignation when it came to spending money in Iraq? What of the costs of evesdropping on the average citizenry? What of the cost to artificially elevate the terror-level in the US simply to garner a larger vote margin in an election cycle? Of course, the answers to these questions, if posed to the likes of Limbaugh, will be met with twitching disdain and spittle-stained conjecture.

And this should be pointed out more than it has been - what of the people that can afford healthcare versus those that can't. Sure, conservatives with fall back on their talking-point that relates to "choice" of lifestyle, but what of those that don't have that choice? What of those that are faced with living in a position where they have limited options? What of those that are attempting to live out a lifelong dream and lack adequate coverage? It's very easy to speak from the pedestal and not understand those that you feel are below you.

Any reform established by the current administration woud result in a "death panel" that would deny care for seniors and those with mental disabilities......

"Death panel" claims have been conclusively discredited. In one of more than 40 media reports debunking claims of euthanasia and "death panels," PolitiFact wrote: "We've looked at the inflammatory claims that the health care bill encourages euthanasia. It doesn't. There's certainly no 'death board' that determines the worthiness of individuals to receive care. ... [Palin] said that the Democratic plan will ration care and '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.' Palin's statement sounds more like a science fiction movie (Soylent Green, anyone?) than part of an actual bill before Congress. We rate her statement Pants on Fire!"


And the problem is growing, despite the fact that people aren't looking at the facts.

There’s a pretty striking finding buried in the new NBC/WSJ poll: It turns out nearly half of Americans believe the “death panel” fib.

The pollster read a series of predictions about the health care plan, and asked Americans whether they were “likely to happen” or “unlikely to happen.” In the “death panel” one, Americans were asked whether the health care proposal…

Will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care to the elderly

Likely to happen: 45
Unlikely to happen: 50

Nearly half the country believes that the health care proposal would empower the government to withhold medical care for the elderly. As Steve Benen notes, this “points to a political discourse that’s badly broken.”


More from Media Matters

So why do Congressional Democrats seem to lack the ability not to just control the atmosphere of their respective townhalls, but accurately and concisely articulate the facts behind the proposed healthcare reform?

We should not be so obsessed with the nonsensical blathering of the opposition, or at least not spend so much time validating their inane slobbering and whining, and put forth strong, passionate statements that will dispell the bulk of the myths surrounding healthcare reform without having to spend time day and and day out trying to calm down an electorate that has become enraged with abject hatred, ignorance, and fear.

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