It’s taken over a year to get the healthcare reform bill written and through congress, and during that time republicans and conservative pundits have been making up a whole lot of stuff that isn’t in there to try to scare people. I’m going to cite actual text from the very first draft of the healthcare bill, (House Resolution 3200) to show you that not only is this stuff not true, but it wasn’t true from the very beginning. And you can follow the link to the bill and verify anything if you think I’m lying, as well as verifying that similar text is present in all of the following versions of the bill in the house and senate.
CLAIM: The bill would cover illegal aliens.
Not true. From the bill:
SEC. 246. NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.
Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.
CLAIM: The bill would allow federal funding for abortions (a practice which has already been outlawed for decades).
Not true. From the bill:
‘(c) Use of Funds- Funds awarded under a grant under this section may be used for–‘
(1– ‘(1) may be used for–
‘(A) providing training related to the provision of comprehensive primary health services and additional health services;
‘(2B) the management and operation of SBHC programs;
and‘(3‘(C) the payment of salaries for health professionals and other appropriate SBHC personnel; and
‘(2) may not be used to provide abortions. (emphasis added)
CLAIM: The bill will add to, triple, quadruple, explode etc the national budget deficit.
The healthcare bill is partly designed to bring down government spending which is so high largely because of expanding healthcare costs and expanding cost of medicare and medicaid. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill will reduce the deficit by 1.2 trillion dollars. For those that don’t know that’s virtually the entire deficit. The only problem here is that it will take years to do because it took many years of not addressing the problem of expanding healthcare costs (we pay nearly double what other countries pay for healthcare). So basically if these sort of reforms had been allowed to pass years ago, like say before the bush administration when clinton tried to address the problem, we’d be most of the way toward fixing the federal deficit by now.
And my favorite criticism of all:
CLAIM: The bill contains “Death Panels”.
This bizarre bit of fiction started with a woman Betsy McCaughey, a healthcare industry lobbyist, who read this section of the original healthcare bill about advanced planning:
“(1) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the term ‘advance care planning consultation’ means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner described in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning, if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years.”
Now this is a bit convoluted to be sure, but it essentially says that an “advanced care planning consultation”, ie end of life care consultation, which under this law can now be billed to your insurance company, only “counts” as described in this bill if you haven’t had one in the last 5 years. In other words, you can only bill your insurance once in a 5 year period to rap with your doctor about “what if I’m in a coma, after x amount of time what are the odds I’ll wake up?” etc. And this way you can have a living will that spells out your wishes very specifically.
Anyway, good old Betsy reads that section of the bill and instead of seeing what a normal person would see, she sees a stipulation requiring mandatory death consultations for all seniors every 5 years designed to push them toward euthanasia. She runs around promoting this fiction all over the airwaves.
Now it gets interesting, Sarah Palin throws her hat into the ring don’tcha know!
She said on her facebook page:
“…my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”
(Rank Hypocrisy Alert: Sarah Palin while she was governor of Alaska declared April 16, 2008 Healthcare Decision Day to promote the advanced care planning she later vilified as child murder.)
Her “death panel” quote (she coined the term) nevertheless prompted Rush Limbaugh to say:
“But I would suggest that anybody who doubts her intellectual heft or her ability to learn and study, go to her Facebook page, look at the notes that she’s taken — it’s right there — the study that she has done and engaged in, in order to learn about Section 1233.”
“He (President Obama) wants the White House, he wants the Executive Branch, to be making determinations of who lives and who dies, which will lead to the regulation of every lifestyle or life in this country.”
(Rank Hypocrisy Alert # 2: Limbaugh did ads to promote August as National “Make A Will Month” saying that a living will “lets you specify decisions about artificial life support in advance. It not only ensures your wishes will be heard, but also protects your loved ones from having to make these difficult, deeply personal choices for you.”)
Limbaugh’s support prompts Americans For Prosperity (a lobbying organization funded by an oil billionaire to support conservative candidates and pro-corporate legislation) to say at one of it’s rallies:
“Part of this process is called end of life counseling and part of the end of life counseling can be an end of life order. Let me repeat that, part of this end of life counseling on line 429 of HR 3200 deals with an end of life order. What does that mean? End of life. Another word for that is death. Order. What’s another word for that? A sentence. Now, you folks review with me a little bit as I recall Stalin in 1920 issued about 20 million end of life orders for his fellow Russians. Pol Pot did it during the Vietnam war. He issued about two million end of life orders. It’s being done in Africa today, Mugabi is doing it every day. Adolph Hitler issued 6 million end of life orders. He called his program the final solution. I kind of wonder what we’re going to call ours.”
And here we are.
So yeah, I hope I’ve cleared up some of the insanity.