Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health care realities scarier than right-wing lies

The author sits humbly at his computer desk, thinking of ways he can influence his readers into thinking that health care reform is a good idea. A realization comes to him: just lie! If it works so well for the conservative die-hards in this country, surely the same tactics can work for him and his cause. Fear, after all, is a great motivator, capable of changing public opinion just like that (snaps fingers). He sits down and types his first lie:

"Lie" #1: If you don't support health care reform, an insurance company might get between you and your doctor, preventing you from getting the care you might need, all in the name of profit!

He sits back and re-reads his "creation." It occurs to him that this lie is actually a lie at all -- it's the truth for millions of Americans who are denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, or whose medical procedures insurance companies might deem unnecessary due to high costs. "Hmm," he thinks to himself. "This lying business might be harder than I thought." He takes a second stab at it:

"Lie" #2: Without any change to the current system, the government is going to bankrupt itself! We spend 17 percent of our gross domestic product on funding health care, and if current trends continue, that number could get higher!

Again, as he re-reads his lie, the author realizes it isn't one. "This lying stuff sure is hard work," he grumbles. "Ah...I've got a doozey now!" He sets back to work, wondering shortly to himself if anyone still uses the word "doozey" these days:

"Lie" #3: Six out of every ten bankruptcies are due in part to high costs in health care. In the year 2000, it was half that! In 1981, it was only 8 percent! Think of where this is going!

Another truth slips into the author's writings. "This isn't working out very well!" the author thinks aloud. "What to do, what to do?!"

"Aha!" he says, "I just need something so dreadful, so connected to human life that anyone who disagrees with health care reform after hearing THIS lie will seem inhumane!"

"Lie" #4: Estimates show that 22,000 people DIED in 2006 because they lacked basic health care coverage, either because they didn't have any to begin with or because they were "underinsured." That estimate is up from another one in 2002, where 18,000 people died due to similar circumstances, and between the years 2000 to 2006, 137,000 people died. If we don't do anything to remedy the health care crisis in this country, we're LITERALLY KILLING tens of thousands of Americans!

Feeling very accomplished with the "lie" he wrote, the author sits back and smiles confidently. Until the doubt sets in -- "Maybe I should just do a quick Google search on that one to make sure it's not true, like the rest of my lies that didn't work out."

He's stunned by the results: it's another truth! "Oh, for crying out loud!" he screams, much to the horror of his cat who sits under his desk while he works. "Just how am I supposed to strike fear into the hearts of people with all these truths in the way?!"

Something occurs to him. He sits back at his desk, and offers the following thoughts on the matter...

It seems that the fears right-wing extremists have been spreading recently are nothing compared to the fears people should REALLY be having over the CURRENT health care crisis. Each of these "lies" presented before you is in fact a truth. We live in a system where millions go without coverage and insurance companies refuse to provide for the services you need; where the country spends nearly one-fifth of its GDP on keeping the system going while more than 60 percent of the country is going bankrupt trying to get their health needs attended to; and where tens of thousands of people die annually because they can't get the coverage they need.

Are you scared yet? You should be.

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