Aug 5, 2009
Fear mongering campaign against health care reform splitting Americans
The organized effort by a rightwing Washington, D.C. lobbying firm and an all out misinformation and fear mongering blitz by Republicans is making some headway against President Barack Obama's health care reform proposals.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday today say 50 percent of Americans support the president's plans, with 45 percent opposed. Republicans have said this is not about reforming a system where more than 47 million Americans have no access to health care and health care premiums for family plans have increased 78 percent in Michigan since 2000 but simply about defeating Obama at all costs.
Health insurance lobbyists are spending $1.4 million a day on lobbying Congress to protect huge profits when other corporations are reporting losses or reasonable profits. In fact, just last month, health insurance giant United Health Group Inc. reported a second quarter profit of $859 million, a 155 percent increase from the $337 million earned during the same quarter a year ago; that’s what Republicans are trying to protect.
Right-wingers are rolling out every false fear tactic they can think of no matter how bizarre or false; from assisted suicide and rationing to long waits and the government getting between the doctor and the patient.
To make sure you don’t hear the truth and the facts, the rightwing lobbying firm and think tank Freedom Works, chaired by former U.S. House Majority Leader and rightwing Republican Dick Armey, are scripting and instructing people how to disrupt townhall meetings where lawmakers are trying to speak to constituents. These are the same people who organized the false Astroturf “tea parties.”
The CNN poll found some interesting things. “Nearly half of those who oppose the Obama plan say they are more likely to attend town hall meetings to express their views on health care; only 37 percent of those who support Obama's plan are very likely to attend a public forum on that issue.” We need to change that so the Democratic lawmakers – and that is who are being targeted just like the fake “tea parties – so they can speak freely and answer the questions of respectful people who show up and simply want answers from the people they elected.
The survey also suggests “that around seven out of 10 Americans think that major structural changes are necessary to reduce health care costs or provide insurance coverage to all Americans.” That’s not at all surprising considering the U.S. is also ranked 37th among all countries in health system performance, according to the World Health Organization.
We simply cannot afford not to reform health care. Medical problems caused 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. in 2007, according to a study by Harvard researchers, in a story published in Business Week. And in a finding that surprised even the researchers, 78 percent of those filers had medical insurance at the start of their illness, including 60.3 percent who had private coverage.
The poll suggested an interesting split among generations. “Obama's plan is most popular among younger Americans and least popular among senior citizens," says CNN polling director Keating Holland. "A majority of Americans over the age of 50 oppose Obama's plan; a majority of those under 50 support it."
So, the people who have the option of soon going on a government provided plan – Medicare, the most popular health insurance program in the U.S., based on patient surveys – oppose the President’s plan, but those will have no option support the plan. Strange.
Remember, U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, is holding a health care town hall at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Romulus Athletic Center, 35765 Northline Road in Romulus. You can hear answers from a man who saw the need for health care reform a half century ago. We need to stand up against those who don’t want the truth to come out and will attempt to drown him out.