Honestly , I am as tired of writing about this subject as you are of reading about it, but as rumors and distortions are eroding the support for reform I feel it is incumbent on those who support real reform to keep refuting the lies.
Sunday morning Anderson Cooper of CNN moderated a full hour analyzing the various aspects of the reform bills being considered. He had a panel of three political analysts, David Gergen, Pamela Gentry, Christine Romans, and Dr. Singay Gupta. They were not advocates for reform or against it. They were simply discussing the facts as they stand now.
One of the facts that should be stressed is that the Pharmaceutical Industry is so worried about it's obscene profits being threatened that (emphasis mine) it is spending $150 billion dollars to fight it. The Insurance Industry took another tack. Rather than fighting reform, they are cooperating (sort-of). Being sly old foxes they made a deal; we will no longer refuse to insure people that have pre-existing conditions if you give up the Public Option. This gives them the cover of appearing to support the bill and looking like good guys while they lick their chops about all those millions of new people who will be required to have health insurance. Bear in mind, that many of those who do not have health insurance are young and among the healthiest.
Reform without the Public Option would be a real win-win for the Insurance Industry.
Another fact for reform that is overlooked in the noise over "pulling the plug on grandma" is the fact that one of the things that brought down the American auto industry is it's inability to compete with foreign made cars because of the high cost of health insurance for it's workers. This is true of all large American corporations. Failing to get the cost of health care down is doing the very thing the politicians say they despise; sending our manufacturing industries overseas; or bankrupting them if they stay here because they can't compete with countries that have a sensible health insurance system.
Another thing people who are happy with their insurance need to know. They are one catastrophe away from financial disaster if their insurance company refuses to cover it. This happens all too often. That's what causes so many personal bankruptcies. Still happy with the way things are now?
If that isn't enough to worry you, look at your premiums. Individuals are paying 117% more for health insurance now than ten years ago and it will double if nothing is done.
If you are one of the ones against reform because it covers abortion the panel said this is a murky issue because there is nothing in the current bill that says insurance must cover abortion, but if the mother's life is at stake that becomes more problematical.
The same murkiness occurs when the issue of paying for reform with preventative medicine is discussed. It's difficult to prove how much could be saved by catching illnesses before they became so serious that the cost of treatment would escalate dramatically. Logic says that there would be savings, but how much is iffy.
The next thing that people who are against reform cite is; they don't want their tax dollars to pay for illegal immigrants. There is nothing in any of the bills pending that approve free care for illegals. However, illegal immigrants do end up in Emergency Rooms where the cost is much higher.
1) Big Pharma is spending $150 billion to fight against reform.
2) Our large industries can't compete with their foreign counterparts because of the high cost of health care for their employees.
3) People who are now happy with their insurance should know that they insurance company can, and probably will, pull the plug on them if they have a catastrophic illness. Also, your premiums will double over a few years.
4) Abortion is not covered in the plans now being considered, although if it is performed to save a mother's life it ibecomes murky on whether it will pay or not. (It should)
5) Preventative medicine will save money, but no one knows how much.
6) Illegal immigrants will not be covered.
As far as I can tell, most arguments against reform are based on misinformation or ideology. ("I don't trust the government and want as little government in my life as possible.")
I don't know how to argue with ideology. I only know there are some things that government does better than private industry. I don't trust an insurance industry that is more interested in making a profit than in a humanitarian goal. The single-payer options that are controlled by the government are certainly doing better in controlling cost that the private industry. I believe facts and logic should take precedence over some nebulous belief in "less government is better". Paul Krugman has a good article on this here: