death panels

Rita Hibbard's picture

Health care reform brings a price tag worth paying

It’s historic. And it’s over.

What’s amazing is that it took so much vitriol. But change always does. Especially social change.

I need look no farther than my own extended family, where two members with a recent history of cancer, unlikely to ever get insured on their own dime without health care reform because of those pre-existing conditions, vehemently opposed the idea of health care reform. Somehow, they had been persuaded by the right that  it was in their interests to be against the very idea of reforming the health insurance system, ignoring the fact that the health care lobby fought hard and donated big to preserve the status quo.

That’s a position understandable for those safely ensconced in the shelter of a larger corporation who can count on not losing their jobs (whoever they are), or for those on the public payroll who can count on not losing their jobs (another pretty small group, I would think) , but one of these family members was recently laid off, and the other is unable to work and uninsured because of his illness. Yet the ire and bile of the fight was so extreme that they were unable to see their own benefit in health care reform. Instead, they see health care reform as a move toward socialism, as un-American. Even though implementation of health care reform offered direct benefit to both of them, they vehemently opposed it. Many of those in support of health care reform perhaps failed to appreciate the depth of that opposition.

Of course, most of those protesting health care reform had health care coverage. They were the easy ones for the right to fire up. Many of those interviewed at anti-reform rallies were on Medicare (a government plan) or were well-covered by their employer, as are most Americans.

Rita Hibbard's picture

Abortion battle meets health care reform: Do you see red? Does someone want you to see red?

Just when talk of "death panels" was umm, dying down, now comes talk that funding for health care reform would pay for abortions. Not just abortions, but the fully loaded  'abortion on demand.'

Do you see red? Does someone want you to see red? 

"It represents the greatest advancement of abortion promotion in the history of the nation," Carrie Gordon Earll, spokeswoman for Focus on the Family Action in Colorado Springs, told the Denver Post.

Not to miss a chance to hit the rhetorical red zone at the first opportunity.

Speaking of red, the National Right to Life Committee has gone "Condition Red" on its Web site.

Meanwhile, NARAL Pro-Choice America wants people to calm down and "Help us Stop the Lies!" Supporters note that none of the bills reference abortion, and accuse the opposition of "entangling" the issues to gain a nationwide abortion ban in the private health insurance market.

Abortion opponents say creation of a "public option," or government-run insurance plan, allows the plan's designers to cover all abortions, reports Michael Booth of the Post. Abortion-rights advocates say the bill , and especially an amendment added by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., makes it clear that health reformers are not seeking to expand abortion funding.

Rita Hibbard's picture

Presidential town halls head West; expect vigorous engagement

Expect some vigorous rebuttal to the 'death panel' talk when President Obama arrives at a town hall meeting in the small Montana town of Belgrade, near Bozeman, today. Seven hundred people were lined up Friday morning to get tickets,  the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports this morning.

In an indication that the White House is in full rebuttal mode, an email posted on the White House Web site Thursday quoted  David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama, saying that critics of the administration's health-care proposals were "spreading all sorts of lies and distortions" through "viral e-mails" that were flying around unchecked, according to a report in the Washington Post.  Axelrod called for "a chain e-mail of our own" to rebut "these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed."

(The New York Times today does some detective work on on the death panel rumor, tracing it back to some familiar roots - conservative pundits and media outlets. Read more about that here.)

Back in Bozeman, emotions are running high.

"We are huge fans," said Aimee Kissel, a city clerk who waited all night in line to get a ticket. "I'm a single mom. I've struggled with bills forever. I have a great job and great insurance, and I still can't afford to go to the doctor, with the co-pays and prescription co-pay. I only go to the doctor if I really, really have to."

Of course, there are buses of anti-reformers descending.

Rita Hibbard's picture

When 'death panels' aren't 'death panels' anymore

Sarah "don't let your death panels near my baby" Palin hasn't always been against end-of-life counseling. As Alaska governor, she signed a proclamation making April 16, 2008, Healthcare Decision Day with the goal to have health care professionals and others participate in a statewide effort to provide  information about advance directives about end of life decisions, Matthew Daly of the Associated Press reports.

"The proclamation noted that only about 20 percent of Alaskans, and 50 percent of severely or terminally ill patients, have an advance directive. 'It is likely that a significant reason for these low percentages is that there is both a lack of knowledge and considerable confusion in the public about advance directives,' it said."

This is the same person who decided to sow fear and confusion by claiming that language in the health care reform bill that would pay for conversations between doctor and patient covering items like living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill, and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort was akin to making her Down syndrome child and/or aging parents march before Obama death panels.

Thursday, Palin refused to back down from the death panel language on her Facebook page with a posting titled "Concerning Death Panels."