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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/17/09

GOP Misleads on Health Care Bureaucracy

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Health care reform was among the topics that President Obama discussed in his March 16 weekly address. He said:
"Our nation itself will not succeed in the 21st century if we continue to be held down by the weight of rapidly rising health care costs and a broken health care system. That's why I met with representatives of insurance and drug companies, doctors and hospitals, and labor unions who are pledging to do their part to reduce health care costs. These are some of the groups who have been among the fiercest critics of past comprehensive health care reform plans. But today they too are recognizing that we must act. Our businesses will not be able to compete; our families will not be able to save or spend; our budgets will remain unsustainable unless we get health care costs under control."
Hopefully Obama's community organizing skills will enable him to bring about a compromise which, while probably not the single-payer solution that I wish for, will still be much better than the current situation. The Republicans, however, are misleading the public with scare tactics about health care change. They prefer the status quo, in which the insurance companies and drug companies can maximize their profits at the expense of We The People. So they bombard us with a silly, invalid argument warning that a national health care plan would put the government between you and your doctor, and that government bureaucrats would be making your medical decisions. They used that ploy once again in the Republican response to Obama's address. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), who happens to be a surgeon, gave the response, in which he catapulted the propaganda:
"A government takeover of health care will put bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions that should be made by families and doctors."
The irony should be clear to anyone who has ever been denied payment by a health insurance company for a necessary treatment or medication. The truth is that we now have bureaucrats in charge of health care decisions that should be made by patients, families, and doctors. But, unlike the civil servants who would be managing a national health care plan, these decisions are currently being made by insurance company bureaucrats with the goal of cutting costs and maximizing profits -- at the expense of the patient and doctor. This is the difference between the Democrats, who want to promote the well-being of ordinary Americans, and the Republicans, who only want to please their corporate donors. Only in this case we're talking about life-and-death matters. As long as the Republicans continue to support the out-of-control health insurance industry that chooses profits over people, I don't want to hear them say that they are "pro-life".
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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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