Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire (Health Care Reform Update)

AbundantLife_mark_WEBOn July 31, the House Energy & Commerce committee became the last of three committees to finish its work on health care legislation (H.R. 3200) before the House went out on August recess.  Six members of the Senate Finance Committee continue to work on a bipartisan proposal with a self-imposed deadline of Sept. 15 to release a bill.

Meanwhile, the rhetoric on TV, talk radio, and the internet is heating up. As people struggle to understand what is in this long, complex bill, rumors, innuendo, and outright lies are circulating faster than fact checkers can respond. One particularly misleading email arrived in my inbox last week with the subject line “Protect your Family while you still have time.” It seems to present a thorough page by page analysis of the bill, with over 50 specific pages cited. Except, all of the information is misleading and some of it is just completely wrong. Politifact.com checked out several of the claims, rating most Barely True, False, or Pants on Fire!.

Another email message warns, ““Page 425 Health Care Plan, Are We Being Prepped for Suicide?” and claims that the government is going to teach the elderly how to commit suicide. In fact, bipartisan language in the bill would simply allow Medicare to cover doctor-patient consultations about end-of-life care and living wills. Currently, these types of consultations have to be paid out-of-pocket. One of my Methodist colleagues posted a moving article about the subject here.

The current legislation is not perfect, but at least it moves us in the right direction – toward access to quality health care for everyone. It will be a constant struggle this summer to refute the lies and fear tactics of those who would like to keep the status quo.  Therefore, it is all the more important to talk about the good things that can come out of health care reform, such as:

  • Removal of preexisting condition exclusions
  • Expansion of Medicaid
  • Subsidies for low- and middle-income individuals to purchase insurance
  • Measures to help bring down costs
  • The ability to keep your current insurance/doctors
  • Special provisions for small businesses

You can help to make these positive messages heard. Attend town hall meetings, call in to talk shows, write an op-ed in the paper, visit/write/call your legislators in their home offices. And encourage your church to hold a special Sunday to reflect, pray, and act for health care for all. Visit washington.mcc.org/life for worship and advocacy resources.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b)

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