Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let the White House know you’ve seen something “fishy” on the web about health care reform.

Reposted from The Morning Bell, Aug 5, 2009

The White House is losing the health care debate. Polls from National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal/NBC News, The Washington Post, Gallup, and Pew all show that the American people do not support President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

The White House wants people to believe they are losing the health care debate because “scary … videos are starting to percolate on the internet” that are spreading “disinformation” about Obama’s health care plan.The White House is even encouraging Obama supporters to help them identify people spreading this “disinformation.”

The official White House blog now asks Americans: “If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to”

In the interest of honest debate, we would like to flag the White House about some prominent people that are directly contradicting the President about what his health care plan would do to the American people. As White House Health Reform Office communications director Linda Douglass points out in a video released by the White House yesterday, President Obama has repeatedly assured Americans that under his plan “if you like your insurance plan, your doctor, or both, you will be able to keep them.”

The problem the White House faces, however, is that much of President Obama’s base does not want the American people to keep their current insurance plan or doctor. Activists on the left prefer a single payer system where private health insurance companies have been eliminated. So how can the White House both appease its leftist base, which wants a single payer/government run health care and mollify the vast majority of Americans who want to keep their current health insurance providers? By creating a government run “public option” designed to slowly eliminate private insurance over time.

The President has explicitly said that the public option will not eliminate private insurance. He told the American Medical Association on June 15th: “What are not legitimate concerns are those being put forward claiming a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system...So, when you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this - they are not telling the truth.” So the President SAYS the public option will not lead to single payer health care … but a number of prominent people are saying the exact opposite:

  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) at a Health Care for
    America Now rally: “And next to me was a guy from the insurance company who
    argued against the public health insurance option, saying it wouldn’t let
    private insurance compete. That a public option will put the private insurance
    industry out of business and lead to single-payer. My single-payer friends, he
    was right. The man was right.”
  • Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) told Single Payer
    Action: “I think that if we get a good public option it could lead to
    single-payer and that is the best way to reach single-payer. Saying you’ll do
    nothing till you get single-payer is a sure way never to get it. … I think the
    best way we’re going to get single-payer, the only way, is to have a public
    option and demonstrate the strength of its power.”
  • Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein at the
    Democratic National Convention last year: “They have a sneaky strategy, the
    point of which is to put in place something that over time the natural
    incentives within its own market will move it to single-payer.”
  • Noble Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul
    : “[T]he only reason not to do [single-payer] is that politically
    it’s hard to do in one step…You’d have to convince people completely give up the
    insurance they have, whereas something that lets people keep the insurance they
    have but then offers the option of a public plan, that may evolve into

Americans deserve an honest debate about health care. President Obama, Barney Frank, and Jan Schakowsky cannot all be right. Either the President is wrong when he says his plan will not lead to government run health care, or Frank and Schakowsky are spreading disinformation when they tell their single payer advocate base that it will. So let’s help the White House out. Do email and let the White House know you’ve seen something “fishy” on the web about health care reform.

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  1. They're splitting hairs. There's little difference in "being allowed to evolve" and "being forced to evolve" when it comes to this program.

  2. This is an incredibly weak argument against a public option. It takes discussions about the health care debate out of context and uses it to generate fear instead of rational thought about the issue.

    Yes, there are people that hope for a single payer health care system. Most of them oppose the President's health care plan as not going far enough. A few of them, however, try to encourage supporters of a single payer system to support President Obama's plan, by expressing their hopes that the current plan might eventually lead to a single payer system, even though the administration does not support a single payer system.

    The idea that this will evolve to a single payer system is not supported by history. Medicare and Medicaid have not brought about a single payer system for seniors.

    Beyond that, it reflects a profound lack of understanding about a single payer system. A single payer system does not mean that you must use the government plan. Countries with single payer systems still allow people to purchase additional insurance.

    Instead, a better way of understanding a single payer system is to look at the public school system. With public schools, you do not have to fill out forms to pay or find a different payer to pay for the education. You get the education. If you chose to select supplemental or alternative education, you can go out and pay for that separately. This is a single payer system and it saves a lot on administrative costs. Such a system could save on health care costs as well if there were not so many irrational fears about "a single payer system".

    As to something fishy, my biggest concern is that anti-health care reform activists are encouraging people to disrupt meetings so that there cannot be serious debate about the issues. Supporters of health care reform have received death threats. This is what damages democracy in our country, and we need leaders on both sides who are willing to stand up and say that death threats and attempts to prevent serious debate about health care reform are contrary to our American principals.

  3. Comrade you are the eyes and ears of the revolution. Report your neighbor now.