Debate is good, misinformation bad

Tue, 08/11/2009 - 2:51pm
By: Letters to the ...

I enjoy a good debate, one that is based on fact from both sides. It’s healthy and informative. But what I don’t like is when one side uses half truths and made up statements just to make a point and, in some cases, put fear in the minds of people who may not be completely informed.

This is the case of Laura Lunsford’s letter of Aug. 5. Addressing Ms. Lunsford: First, in your very first sentence, you say, “We have won a small victory,” because a decision hasn’t been made on the Healthcare Reform Bill.

It seems as though certain people are more interested in winning then working towards a compromise that will benefit the entire country.

You also say the reform decision wasn’t reached because of the “pressure we the people put on our members.” Actually the delay is due to the pharmaceutical lobbyists, not “we the people.”

Then, you say that during the August recess Congress will hear what their constituents think of “ObamaCare - and it isn’t pretty.”

A recent poll taken by Kaiser says that 55 percent of Americans have put off needed medical care due to cost; 48 percent say they are suffering from health problems; 61 percent of all Americans think it is more important than ever to deal with health reform now, and in a Wall Street Journal poll, 76 percent of all Americans WANT the choice of private and public options in healthcare.

I’d say the results are showing that the majority of Americans are in favor of reformed healthcare.

You accuse people in government as blaming the doctors, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies for the inability to pass the bill. Then you go on to question why the trial lawyers are innocent victims in this scenario.

Sorry, I didn’t understand the comment about the trial lawyers. But as far as the others are concerned: There is a lobbying firm called PhRMA, which represents 32 drug companies. PhRMA has spent $6 million documented dollars in the past three months lobbying against healthcare reform. In addition to this $6 million, some of the drug companies have hired their own lobbyists, also contributing to the situation – Pfizer, $5 million; Amgen, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline, $3 million each.

During a CNBC roundtable discussion on TV Tuesday night, which had representatives from the government, insurance companies and the medical field – someone brought to the attention of the Eli Lilly representative that they produce the most expensive and most profitable cancer drug at a cost of $38,000 for a one-year supply.

His only response was that some insurance companies will pick up a portion of this cost. $38,000! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average American’s annual wage is $40,400.

When asked why the drug companies don’t stop the continuous advertising of drugs, leaving the decision up to doctor and patient and using those dollars to bring down the cost of the actual drugs, he could only answer by using the commercials for depression as an example that there may be people out there that don’t know they’re depressed and need to see the symptoms.

You say that Mr. Obama feels the government can make better medical decisions for you and your family than you and your family. Right now we are NOT making those decisions. They are being made by the insurance industry and the cost of medical care.

You claim the United States has the best medical care in the world. According to the CIA’s mortality list, when checking the statistics of 224 countries, the United States ranks 50th in longevity. Canada, which seems to be used as a comparison against government-run healthcare, ranks 8th.

I attempted to look up the line you quoted from Tom Daschle regarding seniors, but when googling the quoted line, the only thing that came up was your article in this newspaper. There was no other reference to the former senator making any such statement.

You also “quoted” former Governor Richard Lamb of Colorado, saying “old people have a duty to die and get out of the way.” If you had researched this statement, you would have seen that this was, in fact, not at all what he said. He never used the words “old people.” He actually said “we” and he was talking about ethical implications when using artificial means to keep someone alive when there no longer is any life.

This was misinterpreted right after he made his speech and ran incorrectly in many newspapers. Many of them retracted the article, putting in the corrected quote. And, this speech was given in 1984 – 25 years ago – so I’m not sure where you find the relevance in today’s reform issue.

No one wants to see yours, or anyone else’s, grandparents die early. In fact just the opposite. With healthcare reform and a public option, more people will have the ability to afford health insurance and medical care and will live longer and healthier lives.

There is a tendency to believe that if the government is involved, then it will fail. What people seem to forget – because it’s been around so long – is that Medicare is government run. I’ve heard many a 65-year-old say they are so glad they can now sign up for Medicare and lose the high cost of their private insurance. Our veterans have VA insurance, which follows them throughout their lives, also government run. Let’s also not forget that our public schools, police departments and fire departments are also government run, and in most cases are very successful at it.

The healthcare reform is simply an additional choice. If someone has private health insurance that they are satisfied with, both in coverage and in cost, then by all means keep it. But if someone doesn’t have health coverage due to cost, a pre-existing illness, or feels their premiums have become too expensive to afford, then hopefully the public options will be there as a choice for them.

I’m sure we’re all in agreement that we’d like to see the United States move up the list, and out of 50th position, in life expectancy – and agree that we the people ALL deserve and have the right to be healthy.

Debbie Pitts

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by laura2007 on Thu, 08/20/2009 - 7:37pm.

Interesting and I must correct a few things. First, I did a google search on the phrase "Senator Tom Daschle and health care reform will not be pain free" and "seniors should be more accepting of the condition that comes with age instead of treating them" and the search came back with 1.7 million results. Second, I want to hear the left condemn the money made by trial lawyers when they condemn the money made by insurance companies. Both make millions off of Americans. We can not have an adequate health care bill without tort reform. Third, I might have put my quotes in the wrong place but Governor Lamb did use the words "duty to die and get out of the way" and for that I take offense. For an individual to use those words in any context (whether referring to the elderly or terminally ill) is wrong and that person needs to be called out. Fourth, I do think we have the best health care in the world. I’m alive today because of medical advances in the cure of a respiratory disease I was born with. My mother is alive today b/c pharmaceutical companies discovered drugs she would eventually need to fight her type of breast cancer. If our system stinks as bad as the left says it does, then why do leaders and royalty from other countries come here for treatment. The prime minister of Italy came to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for his heart surgery. If the medical care in his country is so great, then why didn’t he stay home? Fifth, I do think we have "won a small victory" b/c we stopped HR 3200 from being rushed through Congress and signed into law before the August recess. An August 15 Rasmussen poll found that 54% say passing no health care reform is better than passing the current congressional plan. Debate is good for America but we should refrain from saying that people are providing "misinformation."

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 08/20/2009 - 8:44pm.

" Why do leaders and royalty from other countries come here for treatment"??

Because they have socialized medicine and long lists to receive health care in their own countries. It's called health care rationing to save money. I went to school in England stayed with a great family, that I still consider to be family. The dad was put on a waiting list for cancer treatment in 2007. At the time the waiting list was 9 months. Not cool. That is why anyone who can will pay cash to come to America or Germany for health care if they want to live.

Joe Kawfi's picture
Submitted by Joe Kawfi on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 9:08pm.

Obama Lies on Single-Payer, Disses Post Office

Obama admits that a government run entity is having problems, and compares them to successful private run entities at the same time?
Isn't the post office about ready to stop delivering on Saturdays due to budget problems - a sort of "rationing" of a government service.

Wow - he really stuck his foot in his mouth this time.

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 12:38pm.

Great post Joe and an even better tag-line.


Obama.... The Bernie Madoff Of Washington

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 5:10am.

It took longer than I thought, but Prezbo is making a strong case for only 1 term and maybe even pushing the country into a 2010 tax revolt or a common sense revolt similar to 1994. Despite their pitiful attempts to show the people at town hall meetings as radicals and from an organized mob (how does one organize a mob, by the way) it is obvious the Dems have overreached are are really worried. And they should be. Joe, your points in bold are so common sense and will resonate with everyone - everyone who is not totally in the tank for the far left wing, that is - and that pitiful minority is going to be less than 10% before too long thanks to the Blue Dogs and a bunch of regular people who are really fed up with Obama's control freak approach to "leadership"

Funniest thing I have seen in a while is some guy with an oversupply of ice scrapers has labeled them as "Obama bumper sticker removers" and is marketing them on the internet.

Joe Kawfi's picture
Submitted by Joe Kawfi on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 8:30am.

1.) The U.S. Post Office is the only entity allowed by federal law to deliver first class mail to your mailbox. In fact, Fedex and UPS are strictly prohibited from delivering “non-urgent” letters. If the government can fairly compete and is setting fair rules, wouldn’t the post office be open to competition at your mailbox?

2.) If Americans were offered “free” postage paid for by massive government spending and tax hikes, would Fedex and UPS still exist?

3.) The Post Office is on track to lose a staggering $7 billion this year alone. How will a government-run health care plan manage taxpayer resources more efficiently?

4.) Postmaster General John Potter says he lacks the “tools” necessary to run the Post Office effectively like a business. Would a government-run health care system have the tools it needs to run as effectively as the private sector entities it is replacing?

5.) On the one hand, the President remarks how great his public health care plan will be. On the other hand, he notes it won’t be good enough to crowd out your private insurance, i.e. the Post Office comparison. So which is it Mr. President? Will it be so great that private insurance disappears or so awful that it isn’t worth creating in the first place?

6.) But the most important question is this: if you have an urgent piece of mail you need delivered, life or death, who are you going to call? Everyone saying the government…please raise your hands.

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 08/13/2009 - 1:30pm.

Is run as an independent agency.

It is managed by one politician and 50,000 promoted from within.

They are a slow gaited bunch---doing unnecessary things and paid too much with wonderful cheap health insurance.

If they charged the same for junk mail as they do first class they would be rich.

If the credit card companies, etc., would give us more than 10 days to pay the bill before 30% interest kicks in and a $50 penalty, we could live with once a week delivery. I know the junk would have to come by semi-trailer.

Like hospitals administration, the post office is a job fair mostly.

Watch a UPS guy work a day, then a post office guy. And they never deliver to the wrong address.

They do pay about the same, everything included, though.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 5:52pm.

"I’m sure we’re all in agreement that we’d like to see the United States move up the list, and out of 50th position, in life expectancy – and agree that we the people ALL deserve and have the right to be healthy."

American life expectancy hits record high

Don't cha just hate those pesky little facts..

Now you know and knowing is half the battle

You Decide

The rest of your "Argument" not worth commenting on.. Socialized "PUBLIC" option Healthcare is DOA...Long Live America..

"Any People who expect to be both IGNORANT and FREE, in a state of CIVILIZATION, expects what NEVER was and NEVER will be."

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 7:03pm.

Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey, my man....great article but you shot yourself in the foot with that on down in the article and see the countries with longer lifespans than Americans who have nationalized health plans.

Just finished watching Lou Dobbs who compared the life span and satisfaction with health plans but unfortunately, we didn't win either one of 'em!

If your ideological slant is its not the American way to have socialized health insurance, thats fine...but you sure as hell cant say what we have is necessarily better.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 9:31pm.

for a good reason.. It proves that going by who stats are at best slanted against the US..
Our system IS BY FAR BETTER THEN ANY IN THE WORLD.. please go ahead and give me stats from something better.. Be my guest...

Facts and Fiction

Health Care Plan Is Not About 'Health' or 'Caring'

Excuse the C&P but this needed to be in context:

"Inevitably the conversation about reforming our health care system focuses on the question of what are we getting for our money and how are others doing with their health care dollars. Life expectancy, along with mortality and morbidity rates, are fairly straightforward numbers to rely on," Frogner said in an e-mail.

A 2008 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that with the implementation of the Taiwan single payer systems, gain in life expectancy was slightly faster in the 10 years after reform than the 10 years prior to the reform.

But the issue for the United States is far more nuanced than simple comparisons to other countries, said Nicholas Eberstadt, researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank. The population characteristics and risk behaviors for different regions should also be taken into account, he said.

While infant mortality rates in the 1980s and '90s were higher in the United States than in some Scandanavian countries, low birth weight babies had better survival rates in America at the same time, he said.

"The simplest hypothesis for this paradox is that at any given birth weight, especially at the critical high risk low birth rates, American babies got better access to medical care than Scandanavian babies," Eberstadt said.

Similarly, looking at five-year survival rates for cancer patients of any ethnicity, the U.S. generally beats European countries, he said.

"It makes one appreciate that you have to tread a little bit more carefully in accepting some of the broad generalizations about the health care system," he said."

Read the rest of the Article

Show me the people dying in waiting lines for Healthcare or show me homeless people dragging broken legs because they can't get care.. and then I will say we have a Healthcare CRISIS.. We have a Government CRISIS.. get them out of the way.. allow interstate competition do something about tort reform.. and help bring meds to market faster.. all will help those that need it..
You lose your job.. no problem.. I can see giving HC assistance for a year..until you get back on your feet.. But 93% of Americans have Healthcare or access to it.. an 80% of Americans rate their coverage as Good or Excellent..SO TELL ME WHERE IS THE CRISIS?

"Any People who expect to be both IGNORANT and FREE, in a state of CIVILIZATION, expects what NEVER was and NEVER will be."

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 4:52pm.

Why, Debbie, you silly wabbit! Facts are for kids!

I would wager 99% of the folks on both sides of this debate have never read the particulars of the proposed health care bill. And I mean BOTH sides of the debate. Folks have their mind made up going in and argue and put out misstatements to support their side. And I mean BOTH sides of the debate.

It is a sad day in this country's history when an issue as important as this can't be debated and analyzed without such rancor, lack of civil discourse and outright intentional misrepresentation of the facts.

Look, I'm not necessarily advocating a govt run program as is being discussed but it should be obvious to all that an overhaul of the current health insurance system has to happen.

And the real losers in this will be those individuals who desperately need health insurance but cannot for one reason or another obtain it or afford it.

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Wed, 08/12/2009 - 12:39am.

"I would wager 99% of the folks on both sides of this debate have never read the particulars of the proposed health care bill.".

Yes, that would include the Senate.

It is a sad day in this country when an issue as important as this has to be PUSHED through without allowing appropriate time for review, debate, and revision. I have spent more time writing a thesis paper than our elected officials have spent on HR 3200. Why would Pelosi want this bill voted in without allowing ample time for review? Seems to me like a case of "let's get this done before they know what hit 'em".

But, hey, you're right that there are problems with the current system. I know a family that didn't have insurance when the husband was run over by his own tractor. His care amounted to over $500,000 which was written off when they filed indigence papers. You and I paid for that. Me, I'm still paying for a surgery I had 2 years ago. Three years later, this family still does not have health insurance. They take trips to Hawaii, but can not afford health care. I can't afford a trip to Hawaii - I'm paying for my health care and theirs.

Submitted by AtHomeGym on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 5:10pm.

obvious to me that an overhaul of the current health insurance system "has to happen."
How about detailing a few reasons that you think make it "obvious" because they sure escape me.

borntorun's picture
Submitted by borntorun on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 6:57pm.

There are many reasons (cost, availability, etc) but think about it..traditionally, ones health insurance program has been tied directly to one's place of employment. And that system worked fine for the generation that went to work for the man and stayed there 35-40 years. However, in todays workforce, that's no longer the case. So what happens to the 35 year old worker whose son develops cancer at age 7 but is laid off from his job because the company outsourced his job overseas and can't get another policy due to his son's precondition? And in todays world, AHG, that's a reality not some abstract scenario.

As I said, I'm not necessarily advocating the plans being floated now but somethings gotta change.

A little more obvious now?

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 6:51pm.

I'm not buying into the other side's argument either but, as I stated before, health care amounts to almost 17% of our economy (GDP) and growing. It's hard to have a robust economy when only one element within that economy is sucking in more and more money.

It's beyond me on how to throttle it. If I had the answer I wouldn't be here blogging. Smiling
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

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