Monday, August 17, 2009

We Are Right to Be Worried [Elizabeth]

Like many Americans, I’m confused about President Obama’s proposed health care plan. Congress is in the process of shaping the bill, and quite possibly the future of America. Around the country, heated debate is taking place in town hall forums. This is democracy at its best.

I see a lot of people screaming as we’re being inundated with media coverage of this issue in real time — but what I’m not seeing are the facts. And how can we?

At this point, we don’t know what final provisions will be included in this important piece of legislation. I’m fairly confident that even some of the congressmen who will vote on it won’t grasp it in its entirety. This is why I’m left scratching my head while pondering an editorial in Tuesday’s Desmoines Register.

The op-ed piece attempts to “clarify” the facts of health care reform legislation for pro-life groups. "Anti-abortion-rights groups either don't have the facts about health-care reform, or they're intentionally distorting them,” it reads.

The paper, however, is actually guilty of the very crime it’s accusing its opponents of committing. The paper says reports that the public health care plan will pay for abortion are flatly erroneous, then it delves into an “explanation” — I use that word loosely — of the public option for health insurance. The alleged explanation clearly misses the point. We don’t want Health Care 101, we want answers to our specific questions.

It seems to me that what the author gives with his left hand, he quickly takes away with his right. Since I’m a reporter and a logophile — “lover of words” — some of the paper’s word choices raise some red flags.

The Register says that the proposed legislation “does not require coverage for specific procedures — including abortion.” But it doesn’t exclude the possibility that my tax dollars might directly or indirectly spring for someone to unjustly take the life of a defenseless human being.

Here’s the kicker. The paper admits that at this stage we only have drafts of legislation and — “obviously, details have not yet been determined, so there is no way of knowing whether or not abortion will be covered.”

Then, why did the editorial claim pro-life groups are wrong?

Now we’ve come to the point of the editorial. The article has already systematically refuted each of its own points, and so it’s on to the next task: flatly attack the pro-life cause rather than dealing with our arguments against abortion. The paper accuses pro-lifers of “latching on” to the health care reform legislation to draw attention to our “agenda” through propaganda. Yet, what it’s doing is no different. The author just used the pages of the Desmoines Register to tell readers to push health care reform through regardless of whether abortion is directly or indirectly funded in Obama’s health care bill.

Why are they right and we’re wrong?

“No one should let a wedge issue derail efforts to help millions of Americans secure affordable, comprehensive health insurance,” he concludes. And what of the millions of Americans who are killed every year by abortion? Why should some Americans be given rights and not others? The author is begging the question by assuming that the unborn are not human and should therefore not be a consideration in this national debate.

Truth is, we don’t know what the final bill will entail. In the meantime, we have every right as Americans to question it. And we don’t need newspaper editorials misleading the public.

Considering Obama’s track record on abortion, we have every right to be worried.


  1. Elizabeth

    "In the meantime, we have every right as Americans to question it."

    Who is not allowing you to question it? Isn't this begging the question too?

    If you don't understand the plan the most honest answer is to say you don't know.

    What I would like to see is a lot more energy put into analyzing the situation and providing some real solutions.

    Instead I see a lot of angry people disrupting conversation and spreading a lot of fear.

    Now a 1000 page document on a plan that is going to be complex is a lot of work. Its a starting point. Its a no brainer that its not going to be perfect. The reason it is so complex is that there are a lot of greedy organizations that have a lot of clout and a lot of clever people that have to be out smarted.

    I have worked in the health care industry for over 30 years and the system we have is terrible. Healthy people don't have to deal with it and until you need it, you don't really understand how terrible it is.

    This debate is not just about insurance, but it is really about a culture of health care providers providing health care that doesn't work.

    Do you know what the number one killer is. It is not a disease. By the medical system's own research it is people being given the wrong medications. To put it bluntly we are paying to be killed.

    Insurance is partially responsible for creating our current medical care culture, but it is the medical care providers that first dropped the ball. And I say that as a medical care provider.

    By disrupting the process of change without being informed you are participating in the status quo.

    If we cannot figure out a way to fix this system, the only way it will change is for it to collapse. And that is inevitable because, for the most part, it is not regulated in favor of the patient. It relies on the ignorance of the populace to survive.

    If you want to get good health care you have to be educated enough to evaluate if you are getting good care and even then its very complex. The system is so overloaded and wrong-funded that even conscientious health care providers have a very difficult time providing good care, often at the expense of their own health.

    To summarize it, you are having the wrong conversation.

  2. Hi Richard and thanks for your comment.

    Although we have not our rights to question any plan, our president just tried to "Rahm" this huge plan prior to the August recess in order to avoid public comment. The conversation that you claim the townhalls are disrupting is that never would have occurred if the administration has its way. I hope you ubderstand that is a problem.

    As far as abortion goes the Congress has voted against every effort to exempt abortion coverage in the bill. Yet the president just yesterday claimed that abortions would not be covered. Heck, even called him on that one.

    Lastly, I also work in health care. Please describe how Obama's plan is going to fix the problems you mentioned. Do you think the VA makes less medication errors than the private sector? I'd be interested to know.

    Like Jim on the other thread, simply placing your blind faith in the government genie that is going to give everyone great health coverage without without increasing costs, increasing taxes, or rationing care is a wonderful dream.

  3. "The conversation that you claim the townhalls are disrupting is that never would have occurred if the administration has its way. I hope you ubderstand that is a problem."

    So your solution is to disrupt the conversation when it becomes available. Yeah that makes a lot of sense.

    "Lastly, I also work in health care. Please describe how Obama's plan is going to fix the problems you mentioned."

    Well its not. Because we aren't even having a conversation to look at all the issues. All we have is a bunch of angry people. The only one's who will win in this is the insurance companies who, by the way, have had 400% increases in their profits in the last 5 years.

    Now if we approach this from a problem solving mentality and set aside the partisan politics we might come up with some solutions.

    The problem is that health insurance cannot be fairly done for profit. It needs to be non profit. Don't confuse health insurance with health care. Health care can still be a for profit enterprise. Its health insurance that needs to be non profit.

    Now how we do this can be through both governmental and non governmental means. But this conversation won't happen because health insurance lobbies are too strong and people are not informed.

    So disrupting the conversation is really working isn't it.


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