Friday, October 02, 2009

The health care "debate"

Earlier this week, a letter to the editor ran in our local paper (the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star) bemoaning the "hysteria" over health care reform and repeating the usual Obama talking points on the topic. Since I hadn't written a letter to the editors in a while, I thought it deserved a proper Fisking.
Laura Newman’s letter to the editor of September 28th citing the “hysteria” over health care reform requires a response. The only reason there’s any “hysteria” is because those favoring the current health care reform bill keep reciting the same faulted talking points in response to supposed “misinformation” about the bill. Let’s examine Ms. Newman’s points:

Claim: It will not include coverage of illegal immigrants, abortions, or death panels.

Reality: While the language of HR 3200 doesn’t specifically allow coverage of illegal immigrants, it provides no construct for preventing it. Further, Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA) just recently called for amendments to the bill to extend coverage to illegal immigrants. As for abortions, the public option is heavily subsidized by taxpayer money, and those covered under a public plan can obtain abortions under the plan. That’s taxpayer-funded abortion. “Death panel” may be an ill-considered choice of terms, but the fact remains that HR 3200 would insert the government into end of life treatment considerations.

Claim: It will not affect previously insured individuals or doctor- patient relationships.

Reality: One might parenthetically add “not right away” here. Private insurance companies cannot compete with government-funded insurance, and would gradually exit the market. Democratic members of congress Barney Frank, Keith Ellison and Jan Schakowsky have all asserted that the public option is the path to a single-payer system in which all choices are eliminated for the consumer.

Claim: It will be financed by the taxes of those making $250,000 or more a year.

Reality: This is simply laughable. 70% of all income tax revenue already comes from the 5% of earners making more than $154,000 per year. Given the cost of this program, there aren’t enough taxpayers making more than $250,000 per year to cover it. Taxes will have to be increased across the board.
A slightly edited (but not materially changed) version ran in today's edition under the editor-supplied title "'Hysteria' over health care well-founded'. It didn't take long for the comments to start rolling in:
Thousands die under the present system (posted by UsefulIdiot , Oct. 2, 2009 5:54 am)
because without health insurance, they lack timely access to health care. Is the writer defending the present system? Can he come up with any alternatives?

Give it up already (posted by UberMensch , Oct. 2, 2009 5:53 am)
HR 3200 was one of 4 - 5 DRAFT proposals, but was the only one available "on-line", thus quickly seized upon the right wing "hatchet men" (most likely Karl Rove), who in turn created "death panel" and fed it to that empty headed, pretty face Palin. Every line was grossly distorted into fear provoking for the ignorant but loyals (Fox News fans). Worse, the thug tactics at town hall meetings disrupting our Republic were inexcuable. This type of gutter politics hopefully has run its course.

Yes, Hysteria is Never a Bad Reaction (posted by Einstein , Oct. 2, 2009 1:12 am)
What situation isn't helped by hysteria? Yes sirree Hysteria is a productive reaction to just about any situation.
Note that not one commenter attempts to refute my points. I particularly liked the rant about Karl Rove and Fox News.

I started to respond to these first three comments at the site, but decided against it. People hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet generally don't want to debate, they want to debase.

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