Posted by: mutantpoodle | August 22, 2009

Factchecker-in-chief

If we had corporate media that was less interested in staging ideological cage matches and more interested in calling bullshit whenever it popped up, perhaps the President of the United States wouldn’t reduced to using his weekly radio address to debunking lie after lie about health care reform.

Oh well – here goes.

So today, I want to spend a few minutes debunking some of the more outrageous myths circulating on the internet, on cable TV, and repeated at some town halls across this country.

Let’s start with the false claim that illegal immigrants will get health insurance under reform. That’s not true. Illegal immigrants would not be covered. That idea has never even been on the table. Some are also saying that coverage for abortions would be mandated under reform. Also false. When it comes to the current ban on using tax dollars for abortions, nothing will change under reform. And as every credible person who has looked into it has said, there are no so-called “death panels” – an offensive notion to me and to the American people. These are phony claims meant to divide us.

And we’ve all heard the charge that reform will somehow bring about a government takeover of health care. I know that sounds scary to many folks. It sounds scary to me, too. But here’s the thing: it’s not true. I no sooner want government to get between you and your doctor than I want insurance companies to make arbitrary decisions about what medical care is best for you, as they do today. As I’ve said from the beginning, under the reform we seek, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period.

What will reform do?

If you don’t have insurance, you will finally have access to quality coverage you can afford. If you do have coverage, you will benefit from more security and more stability when it comes to your insurance. If you move, lose your job, or change jobs, you will not have to worry about losing health coverage. And we will set up tough consumer protections that will hold insurance companies accountable and stop them from exploiting you with unfair practices.

We’ll prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s medical history. They will not be able to drop your coverage if you get sick. They will not be able to water down your coverage when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime. We’ll place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because no one in America should go broke because they get sick.

And we will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer on the front end. That makes sense, it saves lives, and it will also save money over the long-run. Taken together, the reforms we’re seeking will help bring down skyrocketing costs, which will mean real savings for families, businesses, and government.

And the rhetorical flourish?

I cannot promise you that the reforms we seek will be perfect or make a difference overnight. But I can promise you this: if we pass health insurance reform, we will look back many years from now and say, this was the moment we summoned what’s best in each of us to make life better for all of us. This was the moment when we built a health care system worthy of the nation and the people we love. This was the moment we earned our place alongside the greatest generations. And that is what our generation of Americans is called to do right now.

I have no idea what will be in the bill that Obama finally signs  – I just know he’ll sign something this year.  But I do know health care has his attention. That’s a good thing.

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Responses

  1. At the risk of repeating myself…

    A bill that ends up mandating coverage but that does not contain a strong public option or cost controls is worse than no bill at all. It’s a bailout to the insurance companies and pharmaceutical industry and indentured servitude for working and middle-class Americans.

    How the hell did “health care reform” become “health insurance reform”? They aren’t the same things. Not even close.

  2. I agree – and actually said as much a few days ago. As for nomenclature, I believe that’s marketing. Plus, the insurance piece is the easiest part of reform for people to understand.

    I wait to see what happens.


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