To the Editor: Ignore lies, support health care reform
Written by Barbara O'Brien   
Friday, 21 August 2009 08:29
Lies about health care reform - about death panels, socialized medicine and government control - are scaring people and threaten to derail legislation that could help millions of Americans. It's time for a reality check.
The reality is that health care costs are rising rapidly and threaten our economy. Costs are rising every year and cutting into paychecks. Unless we get meaningful reform that slows cost growth, more and more of us will end up with less.
The reality is that people trying to do the right thing are often at the mercy of the hugely profitable insurance industry. For people who need to buy insurance on their own, insurers can deny coverage and charge unaffordable premiums. With reform, people will be able to find good insurance they can afford. New rules will prevent the outrageous abuses we've all heard about.
The reality is that other countries provide more and better care to their citizens and they spend less, not more, than we do. With reform, we'll pay doctors for doing things that make people healthier and we'll cover everyone. As a nation, we'll continue to spend more on health care but costs will rise more slowly.
The reality is that Medicare beneficiaries like me are very satisfied with their government-financed health insurance. Unlike most Americans, Medicare beneficiaries can choose their own doctor. They aren't limited to the list of doctors who happen to be in an insurance plan network. Most Americans would love to have what I have - a really good public health insurance plan and really excellent private medical care. That's what Medicare for all, or single payer, would give them, but that's not what we will get with more modest reforms being debated in Congress.
Even if it's not single payer, health care reform will make life better for millions. So let's ignore the lies being spread by a few and encourage our elected representatives to pass meaningful reform.
Barbara O'Brien
Nurse practitioner
Bowling Green

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