It’s Time To Talk About Healthcare And Stop The Fear Mongering

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Opinion by Andrew T. Mason, blogger of “Andrew T. is on the Cut

Two nights ago I saw that I think was probably the most infuriating segment I have ever seen on The Rachel Maddow Show. Sorry, right wingers, it wasn’t Rachel that upset me, it was the subject matter.

On Tuesday, during the AARP town hall on health care, President Obama answered a question from a caller who expressed concern that after the health care reform bill is signed into law, the government is going to send people door to door, targeting the elderly, and asking them how they want to die. Obama assured the caller that this is not the case; he explained that there could be a provision that makes it easier for people to complete a living will, which allows people to voice their medical wishes in advance should they loose the ability to speak for themselves. He said that there was no way this bill would force her to make any decisions in that regard. Frankly, the government doesn’t have the manpower, time, or interest to do such thing.

On the one hand, I appreciate the fact that the caller took the time to call and get a sensible answer directly from the President himself. I sincerely hope she found some ease. What upsets me the most is that she got this idea from somewhere. She heard a rumor that the elderly were going to be the big health care reform losers. Where is this idea coming from? I’ll let Rachel take it from here:


I hope you resisted the urge to toss your computer out the window. It’s this sort of thing that turns people away from politics. Health care is an issue that everybody should deeply vested in. If you’re like me, this clip sets your hair on fire. If you’re not like me, your hair is on fire, for different reasons. Regardless of your perspective, these fearmongers, sponsored by the insurance industry, will tell bold face lies and do whatever it takes to make sure real reform doesn’t pass.

Instead of honestly debating the issue, they’re going to make old folks believe that the Government is going to come to their house, take them out back, and put them out of their misery, Old Yeller style. It’s insane!!! What’s worse, is that it works!!! If it didn’t, old ladies wouldn’t be calling the President asking him to pledge that he’s not going to have Government employees stopping by to inquire their preferred way to pass on to the next life.

There is one solution. If you aren’t already, start talking to people. Find out how they feel about health care. Educate yourself to the facts and pass them along. Rent “Sicko” and watch it with your families. I’m willing to bet that you’ll find that most people want reform, but don’t understand truth from fiction because of nonsense like this.

Those that want to defeat reform are mucking up the message on purpose. They want to distract from the real issue of bringing good, affordable care to every American citizen. They don’t care about that. They care about their friends in the insurance industry, who will get even richer should real reform fail.

It’s time to do your part. It’s time to fight the lies with the truth. It’s time to talk about it.

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16 Responses to It’s Time To Talk About Healthcare And Stop The Fear Mongering

  1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Terri L.
    July 30, 2009 at 10:33 am

    FYI: I’m nit-picking….It’s not a living will, per se, it’s technically (and legally) an advance directive. The living will or trust is about the assets you wish to disperse.

    And yes, this concept of sending the old folks to the government glue factory is outrageous.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Dee
    July 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Wow..I felt the same way (hair on fire…). The right wingers are just continuing the fear tactics they used to try to get social security privatization (using ridiculous data) and to make us believe Iraq was behind 911. I think people are wiser to them than they use to be, but to target the fear in the elderly is inexcusable. Talk about a cheap shot on an easy target. I really feel for Obama. I think he is a reasonable person, and a good negotiator – but you really can’t negotiate with totally unreasonable people. It’s like telling a schizophrenic that the voices aren’t there. I think these people amuse him in an I-can’t-believe-you’re-actually-for-real kind of way. I hope he can keep his optimism and sense of humor in tact in the face of these dangerous loons.

  3. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1Donna K
    July 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I want all people to have health care. All they have to do is extend coverage of medicare or medicaid to those people. No reason for that many pages of rules and regulations. I really believe it is all about control!

  4. -5 Vote -1 Vote +1Joe
    July 30, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Wow, read the bill and use some common sense. It’s not about putting old people to death, it about the rationing and cost cutting that scares the living crap out of the old people. Answer this, what happens when you add 50 million people to the “healthcare roles” and add zero new doctors? Question 2, what happens when older people need “unneeded” surgeries (need replacement, hip replacement)? It’s the whole red pill blue pill thing that scares them. The don’t want to be told that they have to live with there bad knee, and instead take a pill. I’m not for or against reform, but some of the information out there is just scary.

  5. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Seth
    July 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    i’m a right winger as you call us. I don’t believe that the government will come and kill of people, but there is a truth in the idea that once a person “is no longer productive in society” then they are no longer useful to save. There is a great fear and reality in that situation. If the government can dictate who gets what care, then there is a corruption that will limit or stop care for the “unproductive”.

    Now for all the communist minded, marxist, socialist out there, this health care plan is the greatest thing out there because it does regulate every persons life and give the government more power.

    You also take time to say that right wingers don’t want reform and we are against reform. I believe that we need reform but not by stealing from one group to give to another. I don’t believe we should be sucking from the breast of the government for the rest of our lives.

    You want reform, then here are some basics. Stop frivolous lawsuits and cap the amount that can be awarded. Allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines. The same plan I have is half the price only 15 miles away because it is a different state, that’s wrong. Start charging everyone on medicare and medicaid $5 every time they go to the doctor and $25 every time they go to the emergency room. If it’s a real need then they can afford $5 if it’s not, then they won’t go and clog up the system.

    But you don’t see that as reform because it makes the individual responsible and removes the government control.

    Forcing me to pay for someone else is ridiculous. It will go the way of social security. When it was first instituted, there were 40 workers to 1 recipient. Now there are 1.5 workers to 1 recipient. Why should I work to pay for someone else to get everything they want. I get tired of paying half my check to the government and by instituting health care they way that President Obama wants, it would take even more of my money.

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1patrick muller
      July 31, 2009 at 12:49 am

      Dear Mr. Seth:

      YOU, sir, are just as unreasonable as people who think the government is going to kill old people. Your fears about proposed changes are equally ridiculous.

      “If it’s a real need then they can afford $5 if it’s not, then they won’t go and clog up the system. ” This is insensitive hogwash, which only serves to kind of cushion this, your real emotional argument here (which is, I hope you are aware, purely EMOTIONAL, since there is no logic at work in your selfish point of view):

      “I believe that we need reform but not by stealing from one group to give to another. I don’t believe we should be sucking from the breast of the government for the rest of our lives.”

      Right. Because that is unAmerican and…communistic? For real?? I would guess that you’re probably over 35 years old, and perhaps remember the days of communism. Guess what: THIS IS NOTHING REMOTELY LIKE COMMUNISM. It’s not!! Saying this is communism, or that Obama is Hitler does not make it so! It’s ridiculous, and emotional. So get a grip on yourself.

      Also: Do you make anywhere NEAR $250,000 a year? Oh, what’s that? you don’t? Oh, well guess what: the other 98% of America doesn’t either. The uber rich got ridiculous tax cuts from Bush, that are SET TO EXPIRE (by W’s own hand, mind you) in 2011. The tax rate will return to what it was in the 1990s, when America was the wealthiest, most economically successful place EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET EARTH. So, guess what: Making the rich people pay their former tax rate 16 months early could provide healthcare to unfortunate folks.

      You are emotionally opposed to that……..why?
      Does it have to do with Jesus in any way?

      • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Seth
        July 31, 2009 at 9:21 am

        Ok, Let’s get a few things put in line here.

        I am in my late 20’s, 29 to be exact. I am married with 2 kids and make less than $40,000 a year. I held these views when I was working full time for $22,000 a year paying for my own healthcare. I’m not a rich guy and I don’t live on emotions.

        I didn’t grow up under communism, but my family did. My grandmother lived under Hitler, and I never said that President Obama’s (notice I called him President and not just O like you did with President Bush, he was your president deal with it and respect him for the position), You called him Hitler, not me. Although that is what most Libs like to do, put words in the mouth of conservatives.

        It is un-American to steal from one to pay another. The country was founded on personal responsibility, but that has gone away in the last couple of decades. It’s not every my fault according to public consent.

        It may not be full communism, but it is socialism. Take some personal responsibility.

        As far as being heartless and insensitive because I think everyone should pay something to go to the doctor, you can have your opinion. I pay $35 every time I go to a general practitioner and $50 every specialist, and $250 a day I’m in the hospital and $150 every time I go to the emergency. You know what that does to me. It really makes me think twice before I go to the doctor for a sniffle. If I have a cold I go to Walgreens and buy some medicine. If I need to go, I go but I pay for it. If there is no personal responsibility there is no reason you should consider doing anything to help anyone else.

        The money is not there to pay for the healthcare bill. It’s just not there. Look at the cash for clunkers payment that has gone broke after only 4 days. now they need to find 2 billion more to pay for it, and they don’t know where it will come from. How can they pay 1 trillion (low estimates) if they can’t even find 2 billion for vouchers. that is only 2/10th of a percent of the money they are looking for. That is like saying I want to spend $10 but you can’t find 2 cents in your pocket. it doesn’t make sense and they will come after the middle class. the “wealthy” will soon become anyone that is paid more than poverty rate of $12,000. And I know you are going to say “No they won’t, it’s those evil rich people that worked for their money that should pay 60% or their income to the government. Yeah get them. They are evil.”

        Fine say what you want. but if you would take some time to learn what the bill says and how much money they are wanting to spend then you may change your mind. I don’t want to base by life on a “Hopey Changey” rhetoric.

        • Vote -1 Vote +1patrick muller
          July 31, 2009 at 9:44 am

          Your arguments are all over the place.

          First, I respectfully insert “President Bush” into my characterization of him as W. 2nd, please don’t tell me that Republicans are NOT comparing this to National Socialism and Communism. I’ve seen the commercials. If you are more reasonable than the rest of what I am assuming is (my apologies if I’m wrong) the rest of your party, then kudos to you. I’m sure you’ve heard the lines calling Obama a communist. I assure you I am not putting words into anyone’s mouth.

          Basically, what you’ve written is more hogwash.
          “the “wealthy” will soon become anyone that is paid more than poverty rate of $12,000”

          …Really? I mean…who said that? You’re being hysterical. That is not an argument. It’s fearmongering, plain and simple. And ridiculous, and clouds the issue.

          “It is un-American to steal from one to pay another. The country was founded on personal responsibility, but that has gone away in the last couple of decades.”

          This is complete garbage, too. How is taxation stealing? Explain this to me. So, according to your emotional opinion (which is emotion, because it is NOT GROUNDED IN FACTS), if the upper 1.5% pay the rates they were paying in the 1990s, the whole ship will sink?

          My point is this:
          The ship already has a GIANT hole in it, because the wealthy played the system and completely and utterly ruined the financial system. No government regulation!! Hooray!! …well, where did that get us? (Oh, please: Tell me how the Democrats in the 90s — uh, no, wait, the Democrats after 2006 — are ultimately responsible for what has happened.) Because the rich got to play around with phony money, a LOT of people are out of work. A LOT of people who NEED to go to the doctor cannot afford it.

          Here is the bottom line: Your ethics say that it’s more important for the super rich to keep that extra $4000 a year than for 40 million Americans to go to the doctor. People like you and I will never agree on this.

          • Vote -1 Vote +1Seth
            August 1, 2009 at 8:52 am

            It is socialism. Look at the definition of socialism. everyone pays into one system and then that one system gives all your daily needs back to you at an even amount no matter how hard you work. That is socialism. while this may not be full blown socialism, it is the basis on which they can begin the process of taking everything over. I do believe that many in the republican party have gone crazy and should not be there. it is also the republican party that has lived under this idea that we must do whatever to gain votes and therefore we have corrupted our own position to cater to the idea of left winged socialist.

            I do believe that the “super-rich” are the ones to turn around this economy, but it’s not through higher taxes.

            Do you get paid by someone who only makes $40,000 a year. No you get paid by a “super rich”. So what happens when you take another 5% of their money. They cut cost (jobs) and raise prices.

            My brother-in-law is one of the “super rich” according to President Obama. He takes home about $120,000 a year but because he owns his own business that has revenue, not income, of $800,000+ a year, he is the wealthy. If you don’t believe me, go listen to his primary speeches in which he says “revenue of $250,00 or more” Revenue and Income are two different things. You have revenue then pay your expenses and then have income.

            if he were hits with another 10-15k in expenses because of this healthcare plan, he would have to fire his full time employee to make ends meet again.

            If you are so ready for others to have their taxes raised, the why not pay more in yourself. You would be screaming at the top of your lungs how unfair it was that your taxes were raised by 4-5% but when some else is paying the money you want to stick it to them because they can afford it.

            Maybe they worked for their money. Maybe not, but they have a right to use it. Oh there’s that word that Libs love so much until it come to the ‘Right to Life”. You want to scream how everything is a right. No it’s not. You have one right, to live. Work for everything else. I live a modest lifestyle and I have a right to keep what I make. I have a right to do what I want with my money. I can spend or save it better than the government ever can. Do I believe that McCain would have been better for the country. No he was about as socialistic as our current administration. I love it thought hat President Obama is our President, as long as he doesn’t destroy us in the next 3.5 years.

            I love it because he is so left winged self-gratifying that many are pulling away from who he is and what he stands for. It’s like a large rubber band. we were slowly getting pulled and everyone was going along with it. Now this administration has snatched it so fast so far that people are finally fighting the idea and pulling against the government. And like any rubber band that is pulled and then release, it swings so far back the other direction that we will see hyper conservatism take root because of what our president is doing right now. So thank you President Obama.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1jay pister
      August 6, 2009 at 6:32 pm

      It is so refreshing to see someone make sense on a site that is basically a socialists gone mad forum.
      Rachel Maddow is fighting for her own name and fame. She is delighted to have the spotlight on her. . The truth or utility of what she is saying matters little. as long as she becomes more famous with the ever swelling mob of racist and fear mongers that applaud her as she continues her Godless tirades.
      Socialism has never worked. It won’t work here. It won’t work in medicine. Somehow the socialists believe that everything is okay as long as we have a printing press. Money is never free. It won’t be free with a printing press.

      Jay Pister

  6. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1zhjyisee
    July 31, 2009 at 1:21 am

    So, a healthy body is better than any things such as money, gaming, etc.

  7. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dave Lee Roth
    July 31, 2009 at 7:57 am

    If Obama’s ideas are so good, why did factcheck.org find that he stretched the truth so much when talking about it? Were they fearmongering too?

  8. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Diamond Jim
    July 31, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I think all who have a job ,from hamburger flippers to the president should be paying into medicade,social security,and medicare.I was lead to believe for over 30 yrs that part of my taxes was going into a social security medicare found so that when i got to an age where i could no longer work productivly,I.E. retirement i could and should reap my rewards for paying into it for 40plus yrs.Then i find out a few years ago to my amazement a few years back there is no such fund.That the federal government decided they were collecting to much money for social security and that any access would go into the General fund.Now that i need it and am using it i’m told the social security and medicare is going broke.How and why is it going broke?Why in most bills now being discussed they say they will take some money from medicare or social security,or magicaly save or cut benefits from those plans to help pay for the new plan. Why is what i paid for for 40 yrs now suddeny going bankrupt?Did law makers change the benefits i thought i was entitled to to get my vote?Before i back another federal health care plan i want to know exactly why social security and medicare is broke.And don’t give me the crap about how many was paying into vs people recieving it.Any insurance company had that kind of basic information before they sell policies and premiums for their plans.Why was the government so woefully ignorent about the numbers untill it was to late?I was just a truck driver for over 30 yrs and raised 7 children and for most of those 30plus years i paid for my families health care plan.Yes it was expensive and yes it went up almost every year.To pay for it i had to work longer and harder and i did.But i was’nt going to leave my familys health care up to the government when i had a chance to do it for myself.I believe in helping folks in a a jam and need help getting up on their feet,and if they need help with providing health care untill they can on their own fine.But i don’t believe in providing a life time of assistence to those that can help theirselves.I think like some about politicians we should have term limits on politicians and some bureacrats like insurance commissioners who are supposed to be looking out for the folks but after to many years wind up in the pockets of the people they are supposed to be keeping an eye on.The access’s have been proven and shown and some scorn has been brought upon those that have been greedy.But we need better government watch dogs.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1sam
      August 3, 2009 at 6:13 am

      Social Security is not broke. With no changes whatsoever Social Security can pay 100% of benefits until somewhere around 2040 and after that 80% until somewhere around 2085 which is the end of the projections due to the fact that chances are a baby born yesterday will be dead by then.
      Sorry I can’t remember the exact years off the top of my head, but five minutes worth of honest research (tops) will lead you to them if you really care.
      The Republicans and the liberal media are conspiring against you make you believe the fund is insolvent when it isn’t.
      Trust me if it came down to the military or Social Security the federal government will save Social Security because it’s a historical fact that military members don’t vote and old people do.

  9. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Joe
    July 31, 2009 at 9:04 am

    … should they LOSE the ability to speak for themselves.

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1miked
    July 31, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    The author of this particular canard is Betsy McCaughey

    “It appears that McCaughey is the source of the “elderly euthanasia” hoax now circulating on the Internet, talk radio and in right-wing media, which claims that Democratic health bills will force old, ill Medicare recipients into making plans for their own deaths. Two weeks ago, on former Sen. Fred Thompson’s radio program, she warned that “the healthcare reform bill 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.” The nonpartisan Politifact.com Web site described this claim as a “ridiculous falsehood.””

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/07/31/bill_betsy/

    She wrote a piece on the Clinton Health Care plan in the New Republic which was just as deceptive. James Fallows tore the article apart. Her main claim, that a patient could not go out of the government network and pay for their own care was contradicted by the first line of the act.

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