Home Public Policy President Obama’s Proposed Health Care Reform “Death Panel” and Other Rumors

President Obama’s Proposed Health Care Reform “Death Panel” and Other Rumors

by EG

There’s quite the commotion brewing around President Obama’s proposed health care reform bill. The debate is good – and needed. A healthy, constructive debate is dependent upon accurate information, however. Unfortunately, it’s often hard to determine whether you should believe what you hear or not. What is fact? What is fiction?

The truth is, politicians, lobbyists, businesses, political action committees, etc. know that it’s hard to determine what is true when you’re flooded with conflicting information. They also know studies indicate that when a person is unsure about an issue, they favor the known to the unknown, they favor what’s in place now. Special interest groups and individuals, and it’s done on all sides of the issues, then purposefully distort facts to mislead people.

This has happened with Obama’s health care reform bill. Regardless of your view on the issue, the well published rumors that people will face a “death panel,” as Governor Sarah Palin has suggested, or that euthanasia will be promoted for seniors, as Elizabeth McCaughey has suggested, are completely false.

Governor Palin stated:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subject judgment of the “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

There is no such “death panel” in the proposed bill. Elizabeth McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York, stated:

One of the most shocking things I found in this bill, and there were many, is on Page 425, where the Congress would make it mandatory — absolutely require — that every five years, people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner, how to decline nutrition, how to decline being hydrated, how to go into hospice care.

The fact McCaughey is trying to twist is the provision in the reform that encourages health care providers to talk with Medicare patients about creating advance directives. Well, I’ve encouraged many seniors and their family members to establish advance directives, and I’ve helped complete them. If that means I am telling people “how to end their life sooner” then I guess I’m an evil person.

Regardless of how you stand on the proposed health care reform bill, support an honest debate, support truth, and expose distortions of the truth.

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