Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bushel of Lies

Where to Begin?

Lately, the whole effort to reform America's health care system has exposed a corrupting power structure whose size has been hidden from most of us. The magnitude of the power and money involved in propping up the status quo for the insurance companies, big pharmaceutical firms, and the for-profit hospital systems has been revealed to be as massive as any industry there is. The talking points have been distributed, and people are parroting the propaganda from sea to shining sea. (Quick, put Z on your Netflix list of movies to watch!)

I have received emails from people I know, with outrageous lies. How is it that ordinarily good people have taken the bait so easily? Are we that easy to manipulate with racist ideas, fears of immigrants, and general socialist bogeymen? Can our synapses be so easily accessed with massive advertising slogans? It's 2009 for pete's sake! Why is this happening?

Today, in "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire, a gun-toting protester stood outside a town hall appearance by Obama, standing with permission on church property. This is nuts!

Here is a list of some of the most frequent lies that you will hear over and over (so it must be true!), which are all easily refuted. But does that stop people?
  1. President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!!!
  2. Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!!!
  3. President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!!!
  4. Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens' Medicare benefits!!!
  5. Obama's health care plan will bankrupt America!!!
I know many of you work or have worked in the healthcare arena, so I'd like to hear from you. In the words of Rachel Maddow: Talk Me Down! Tell me I'm hallucinating. Tell me a rational reason we cannot join the rest of the developed world in how our citizens access healthcare.

Here is the video I was telling you about. I'll bet you can't stomach the whole thing! I practically hit the "I can't take it anymore" wall around one minute into it. When you Google this ad, there's very little info about who's behind it, just a lot of right-wing websites telling you how cool it is!


Ric said...

I've suggested others read the AMA summary of the House action on HR3200. http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/advocacy/health-system-reform/hsr-news/committee-concludes-hsr-markup.shtml

You can find more detail at the thomas.gov website -- look for bill number HR 3200.

Ric said...

And here are a few letters to the Editor of the New York Times on the subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/12/opinion/l12health.html?hpw

Bob Mc said...


Being in healthcare myself,I can tell you it's a complex problem for sure. The issues are a multifacted and difficult to resolve at once mix of access to healthcare and the cost of doing business through emergency rooms, increasing costs related to regulatory demands and malpractice, and as you note, self-centered fears about "what do I have to lose personally", very analogous to the NRA member who says if you regulate purchases of Saturday night specials and AK47s, I won't be able to hunt in Montana anymore.

I am also appalled by the absolutely, and visciously, false advertising that is occuring once again, as it did during the Clinton's initial efforts to tackle the problem. We really do have a problem with special interest and minority control issues in this country, probably in part a necessary evil of democracy that just slows change down to a crawl until the need for change reaches crises proportions (sound familiar?). The approach the current administration is taking to begin the process of healthcare reform is actually quite moderate and reasonable - the problem is how do you get the message out about a complex issue in ways people can actually grasp and understand without prompting a latching on to the blind man's perception of the elephant.