The debate over health care reform has, unfortunately, resulted in the total breakdown of serious debate and discussion.
Instead, we have seen screaming, ranting and raving, total hysteria, disrespect for political leaders, death threats, swastikas, invocation of God’s wrath, physical altercations, and the image of mob action.
No public official should be under threat of bodily harm or face verbal insults, but this has become a common theme in many of the Town Halls that have been held across the nation.
People come to conclusions based on rumor instead of fact, such as the so called “death panels” that would determine health care; the issue of abortion being mandated to be covered; the issue of undocumented or illegal immigrants being covered; the accusation of a single payer system being forced on the population as a major step toward socialism; and the argument that the health care reform would lead to tremendous debt down the road and that it is unsustainable.
The fact that Obama’s goals include the coverage of almost all of the 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance coverage; that pre-existing conditions would be covered; that the goal is to cut massive waste, corruption and repetitiveness in the system; that savings on the emergency room costs for those without health care would cover much of the additional cost of the national plan; and that health care should be an entitlement as part of the promotion of a good life for all Americans is somehow ignored. We are allowing Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hanniity and other propagandists on radio and television to hijack the issue!
There is too much selfishness and self centeredness being evidenced in the commentary of these Town Halls–that as long as one has health care, they don’t care whether others have it. And yet, these are the same people who feel that the government should intervene to protect life at the beginning and at the end, but apparently not in the interim between birth and death. This is such hypocrisy, and is the Achilles Heel of the conservatives and corporate influences who are fighting any change, because all they care about is profit, not the welfare of the American people. But they are taking along with them millions of people who are ignorant as to how they are being manipulated.
This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose. The details of the health care plan can be debated, and the exact details of what is acceptable can be decided when Congress comes back in September. But one thing is clear: it is essential that a health care reform bill MUST pass after full discussion and debate, and it can always be improved on in later years.
But since the time of Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, and more specifically since the time of Harry Truman to now, we have remained the only major industrial democracy not to protect all Americans on health care issues. The time has come to change that for good!