Wednesday, July 29, 2009

GOP Uses "Soylent Green" Scenario to Frighten Older People About Health Care Reform

The right has used a number of misstatements (OK, lies) to discourage interest (OK, scare people away from) health care reform. The latest, however, is a doozy: Betsy McCaughey, chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and former lieutenant governor of New York, said the bill pushes senior citizens toward assisted suicide.

On the former Sen. Fred Thompson's radio show on July 16th, McCaughey said:
"Congress would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner."
In reality, what page 425 says is clarified by AARP (which has some sort of vested interest in retired persons):
In no way would these sessions be designed to encourage patients to end their lives, said Jim Dau, national spokeman for AARP, a group that represents people over 50 that has lobbied in support of the advanced planning provision.

McCaughey's comments are "not just wrong, they are cruel," said Dau. "We want to make sure people are making the right decision. If some one wants to take every life-saving measure, that's their call. Others will decide it's not worth going through this trauma just for themselves and their families, and that's their decision, too."

Both Keyserling and Dau were particularly troubled that McCaughey insisted — three times, to be exact — that the sessions would be mandatory, which they are not.

For his part, Keyserling said he and outside counsel read the language carefully to make sure that was not the case.

"Neither of us can come to the conclusion that it's mandatory." he said. "This new consultation is just like all in Medicare: it's voluntary."

"The only thing mandatory is that Medicare will have to pay for the counseling," said Dau.
As Rachel Maddow states, it's not just the fringe and the crazies sending around emails with this nonsense, it's the GOP as well. Yes, for example, as shown below, Rep. Virginia Foxx of NC says that the GOP plan is better because it "will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government."

Some other lies: that a Canadian health care system would limit your choice. Canadians can see any doctor they want. Here's what's really limiting your choice: insurance companies. They decide who gets what treatment and from whom (e.g., your network), all based on not what's best, but the bottom line.

Watch the lunacy:

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Vidhya said...

Interesting post. As a Canadian I am always surprised about the misinformation posted about our health care system. No system is perfect, however I personally love having universal health care and I love the freedom we have to choose our physician or walk into any clinic or hospital without the worry of insurance coverage.

While it is up to Americans to decide if they want universal coverage, I still think it's important to stress that Canadians as a whole support our system. There has to be a reason why every western country (aside from the US) offers universal coverage to its citizens. In my opinion, health care is a right and the best social service a country can offer to its citizens. Income taxes to ensure that all citizens have coverage is not a bad thing.

rachael, rachael, quite contrary said...

I think that's interesting that Vidhya says health care is a right (which I agree on wholeheartedly). Unfortunately, many Americans don't agree.

In fact, when I recently criticized our congressmen for enjoying healthcare at taxpayer expense while so many go without, a friend countered that there would be no incentive to work if we give people food, shelter, AND healthcare for free.

Now, I'm really not sure how all that relates, especially since so many people (like myself) who work still do not have healthcare. The GOP has scared so many people into thinking that any kind of reform means a complete elimination of quality healthcare and full-on socialism. *shakes her head*

James said...

While it is for Americans to decide if they want universal coverage, I think it's important to note that the Canadian and total support of our system. Must be a reason why all Western countries (except U.S.) provides universal coverage to its citizens. I believe that health is a right and best social service of a country can offer its citizens. Taxes on income to ensure that all citizens have coverage is not a bad thing.
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2010 Kia Soul parts said...

While it is for Americans to decide if they want universal coverage, I think it's important to note that the Canadian and total support of our system.

World Financial Group Inc. said...

I agree with the thoughts of Vidhya.Health Care is a right for every common man.