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In responding to what he termed "absurd attacks" against ObamaCare, the President said the following:
“So, let me explain what reform will mean for you. And let me start by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid, or bring about a government takeover of health care. That’s simply not true. This isn’t about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it’s about putting you in charge of your health insurance. Under the reforms we seek, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”
This statement outlines one reason why those townhall protesters are complaining so loudly - they think the President is not being honest with them.
Let's do a little fact-checking on the above Obama statement.
I agree that ObamaCare will not "promote euthanasia," which is another word for mercy killing. The government isn't going to start putting down old people with suicide pills or lethal injections. It's against federal law to do that. If any Republicans are actually using the word "euthanasia" to describe ObamaCare, that is a distortion of the actual issue at hand, which is, to what extent will ObamaCare ration (deny) care to the elderly ? That is still an open question, and is making many folks fearful. Obama saying he will not "promote euthanasia" may knock down a GOP straw man, but it doesn't deal with the real issue of rationing. Withholding care from elderly sick people isn't euthanasia per se, but the end result is the same, death. We need clarification, Mr. President. I realize this is a difficult issue to deal with, but people want to know that cost-savings isn't going to trump people's lives. They don't know that now.
How about Obama's claim that he will not "cut Medicaid ?" Well, back in june, the President outlined $313 billion in spending cuts to Medicare and Medicaid to pay for part of ObamaCare. The cuts include reductions in payments to Medicare/Medicaid providers, cuts in federal subsidies to hospitals for uninsured patients, and cuts in how much the federal government pays pharmaceutical companies for drugs. The Democratic health care plan in the House of Representatives goes further, calling for $500 billion in Medicare cuts. If you want to know where anyone came up with the "absurd attack" idea that ObamaCare was going to "cut Medicaid," now you know. The idea comes from the Medicare/Medicaid cuts that the Democrats have already proposed.
How about the notion that ObamaCare "will bring about a government takeover of health care ?" Where did this "absurd attack" come from ? Here's Obama in 2003, speaking to the AFL-CIO:
“ I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”
Here's Obama in 2007 at a townhall meeting when asked about single-payer. Obama states again that single-payer is his preference, but political reality dictates that he can't get there immediately:
" 'If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That's the kind of system that you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we aren't starting from scratch. We have historically a system of employer-based health care...we don't want a huge disruption...now, obviously, as President, I've got to work with Congress to get this done... we may not get everything I want in there, and may not have everything you want in there..I'm confident that we are gonna get health care reform this year, and start putting us on a path that is sustainable over the long term '"
Here's Barney Frank (D-VT) in July, 2009:
"The best way we're going to get single-payer; the only way; is to have the public option and to demonstrte its strength and power."
Is there ANY doubt that Obama and the liberal Democrats want to use the public option as a Trojan Horse to bring about a transition to the single-payer system they really want ? Obama denies it now, of course, but the above quote tells you why he is denying it now. It's because he knows such a change wouldn't pass. He needs a transition period to get Americans conditioned to the idea. Thus the disinformation.
On to Obama's next statement - "This isn’t about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it’s about putting you in charge of your health insurance."
This line doesn't even pass the laugh test. ObamaCare is ALL ABOUT putting the government in charge of your health care, with or without the public option. The government will force you to buy health insurance, create a myriad of new health care regulations that the insurance companies must follow, fine any employer who doesn't provide health insurance, create a health insurance exchange of government approved insurance companies, and eliminate the citizen's choice to control the type of health insurance coverage they want. Not to mention that the House Democrats health care plan would create a slew of new federal programs, agencies and commissions to oversee the government-run health insurance regime (link). The last thing ObamaCare is about is "putting you in charge of your health insurance." It's about putting the government in charge.
One part of Obama's statement that appears to be true is when he says "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." I have no reason to doubt that. Then again, what alternative is there to having doctors perform health care ? It's not like some government bureaucrat can do it. Just as farmers grow crops and plumbers fix sinks, doctors provide health care. It's a fait accompli. The very notion that we need the President of the United States to tell us we can go to a doctor of our choice indicates how out of kilter our health care system has become. On a side note, guess who invented HMO's, that reviled health care construct where you can only go to doctors inside the HMO network (to "manage" care and costs) ???? If you answered that the GOVERNMENT created HMO's, led by Senator Ted Kennedy, the "liberal lion" from Massachusetts, you win a kewpie doll. This is the same Ted Kennedy whose health care plan is the outline for the Senate version of ObamaCare. If you think of ObamaCare as an HMO on a universal scale, it suddenly doesn't sound so appealing, does it ?
It's no mystery why people are concerned with Obama's health care reform, and I haven't even mentioned the fact that it is going to cost the taxpayers a LOT more money, at a time when our government is already spending money faster than any drunken sailor could ever imagine. We toss around the term 'trillion' like it's nothing these days. 'Trillion' is far from nothing. It's MASSIVE. It's frightening, and people are frightened.
And all we're getting is partisan politics (from both sides) and disinformation from the top. When the President of the United States is engaged in spin and deception, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence. It inspires fear and doubt, and we're seeing that play out at townhall meetings all across the country. Then the Democrats criticize the people at townhall meetings asking the hard questions. Hard to fathom.