5 Right Wing Myths about Obamacare

You can read them all over at Salon’s article “Obama wants to kill your grandmother”.

Myth 1: Democrats want to kill your grandmother. This claim seems too outlandish on its face to get much traction, but Republicans actually made some headway on it recently. Two House GOP leaders put out a statement warning that the healthcare reform bill “may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.” To hear opponents of reform talk about it, the legislation would force seniors to go in for sessions once every five years — and more frequently if they’re sick — where doctors will encourage them to end their lives. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., summarized the scare tactic pretty well on the House floor last week, when she said the bill would “put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government,” and therefore, wouldn’t be pro-life. The GOP has pushed this line especially hard with some of the conservative groups behind the government’s intervention in the Terri Schiavo case a few years ago, hoping to get antiabortion allies on board fighting reform. “Can you imagine the response of the American people when they find this out?” one-time GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson asked about the alleged euthanasia scheme on his radio show last month. “They’re going to counsel you on preparing you to die,” Rush Limbaugh pronounced a few weeks ago. Proof of how far this attack has spread came last week, when a caller to an AARP forum asked Obama about it directly. (Probably unwisely, the president tried to make light of the question, saying there weren’t enough government employees to go meet with old people to talk about end-of-life care.)

There is a kernel of truth at the root of this attack: The legislation would order Medicare to pay for consultations between patients and doctors on end-of-life decisions, which it currently doesn’t cover. But the consultations wouldn’t be mandatory; if your grandmother doesn’t want to go talk to her doctor about end-of-life care, she won’t have to.


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8 thoughts on “5 Right Wing Myths about Obamacare

  1. Maybe along with the myths you can post what IS in the bill. Like abortion coverage: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/05/govt-insurance-would-allow-abortion-coverage/

    What the President and members of Congress have failed to explain is why my tax dollars should pay for someone else to get an abortion, give someone else health coverage, allow someone else to buy a car, etc. I’m sure you will say that’s a “selfish” attitude, but they should at least have the courage to justify it. Why take my hard-earned money from me and give it to someone else to spend?

  2. Call me a cynic but I think there is more than a kernal of truth to the “end of life counseling” and rationing of health care. In fact, the criticism of these provisisions are consistent with the writing’s of Obama’s own advisors.

    Notably, Ezekiel Emanuel, a healthcare advisor to the Obama administration and Rahm Emanuels’ bother has actually advocated withholding health care to individuals with dementia:

    “Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia”

    An essay published in the Hastings Center Report (Nov-Dec 1996) by Emanuel, Norman Daniels and Bruce Jennings.

    So, let’s get that straight, if your not a “participating citizen” your guaranteed national health care can be withheld. Not exactly healthcare for all is it?

    Respectfully, Salon’s response that private insurance also attempts to ration healthcare by denying claims is hardly justification for what the government’s plan will do.

    As for the end of life counseling, it’s correct that the bill doesn’t expressly require it, but keep reading… it gets the caregivers to do the dirty work:

    on Page 432:

    ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of re
    8porting data on quality measures for covered
    9 professional services furnished during 2011 and
    10 any subsequent year, to the extent that meas
    11ures are available, the Secretary shall include
    12quality measures on end of life care and ad
    13vanced care planning that have been adopted or
    14 endorsed by a consensus-based organization, if
    15 appropriate. Such measures shall measure both
    16 the creation of and adherence to orders for life
    17sustaining treatment.

    There it is, in black and white:

    “such measures shall measure both the creation of and adherenance to orders for life sustaining treatment.”

    In short, the government will be measuring how many end of life orders are being created and followed.

    Once it has that data, will it then penalizes care givers who do not obtain enough “end of life” orders from their patients? If Emanuel has his way they surely will?

    1. “Once it has that data, will it then penalizes care givers who do not obtain enough “end of life” orders from their patients?”

      Were such penalties written into the legislation? If they were, then I think your argument might hold some water, but otherwise I think you’re just reading too much into a provision that to me seems to be concerned with measuring how providers deal with end of life care.

  3. As we all know from previous history: the government does not tell the truth. Not about Iraq, not about domestic spying programs, not about rendition, not about torture. Now we have accusations that the government is not telling the truth about the need for bailout, the need for financial reform, and today not about healthcare.
    If the Republicans were lying from 2001 thru 2008 and if the Democrats are lying now, then exactly who should we believe? Limbaugh? Olbermann? Heritage Foundation? Cato Institute?

    My friends, one of these two statements is true but which one?
    1. It does not matter which party is in power because they both are destroying America by lying to us.
    2. Both parties try to convince Americans that the other party is lying when they are not.

    In both cases, who should you believe if you cannot trust the parties and their mouthpieces?

    Walter Lippman once said: “There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the information to detect lies.”
    Are we at that point?

    1. In the age of instantaneous and so many media sources can we lack the information to detect lies? It’s not a lack of information, it is laziness on the part of media and the public to seek out truth.

      1. In fairness, they’re good at what they do. Try and read the health care bill – it was absolutely horrific last year. The current language & reconciliation stuff is practically indecipherable. I was a lit major – I worked my way through Chaucer in it’s original Middle English…hell I got through Spenser and yet I’ve struggled mightily to pull out the meaning of large parts of the legislation.

        This is yet another very compelling reason this, and all legislation should be kept as minimal as possible. Enormous, omnibus bills allow for such abuse, pork and outright bribery for votes, not to mention how far ranging the unintended consequences are. And of course you have really egregious things stuffed in them along-side helpful & beneficial elements. “Senator, how could you vote for a bill supporting ‘death to kittens’?”

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