Thursday, August 13, 2009

Don't fear public option: fear the status quo

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today stated that the various town hall meetings that have been held recently -- where raucous crowds and inflammatory rhetoric/actions have flared up -- are "not completely indicative" of what's going on in America.

"I don't think all the town halls are as you are seeing them on TV," Gibbs said, stating that not every town hall ends in "pushing, shoving, and yelling."

For the most part, Gibbs is right; most of the conservative voices that have disrupted town hall meetings in recent days are not how real Americans truly feel about proposals being made by Washington with respect to health care.

To be sure, there is a sizable amount of people who do believe that health care reform is bad for America. Their voices are legitimate in the debate, and should be respected as such.

There are other voices, on the other hand, that are misinformed on the issues, spreading lies and distorting facts to fit their beliefs, and are determined not to let the debate further itself in any way by disrupting town halls and striking fear into the lawmakers who will be key to reform's passage.

These are the people who are making claims that health care reform will mean that grandpa or grandma will have to face "death panels" to prove they deserve medical care in their old age, or that a bureaucrat will stand between you and your doctor, or that the government will decide what procedures you can have and if it's too costly to let you have it.

The ironic thing? These are the exact arguments FOR a public option in health care reform. Private insurers today carry out the very things that are scaring these people into opposition. They DO determine your fate by a board vote (or a "death panel" if you like that more) if a life-saving procedure is too costly by their standards. They DO put a person between you and your doctor if a preexisting condition can save their company a few thousand dollars.

It's ironic, then, to see these people protesting the things they fear that a public option will bring about. Those fears have already been realized, have been a part of our health care system for years now.

You'd think that people would be fearful enough of the current system that allows 22,000 people to die annually due to lacking adequate health coverage. You'd think that system of health care would show people that a profit-based health system just doesn't work.

You'd be right in your assumptions: the majority of Americans DO want health care reform, in some way or another. Most Americans DO want a public option in the end for health care reform, with 62 percent favoring the idea. They DO want the practice of denying people coverage based on preexisting conditions to be abolished.

REAL Americans want reform. Let's not let our Congressional representatives forget it.

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