Monday, August 10, 2009

Healthy Competition in Drivel

The last few posts have been pretty tough on the Democrats in Congress, rightfully so in my opinion, but by no means do they hold a monopoly over populist drivel.

Republicans are back at their favourite pastime of fear-mongering. In an effort to scare people into opposing the current health “insurance” reform proposals, some Republicans, most notably Sarah Palin (who for some reason that I can't yet comprehend, people listen to), are claiming that the current proposals will withhold treatment to old or less productive citizens, leaving them to die because they are not worth treating.

Its obvious that the health care reforms being proposed are not pro-euthanasia (nor are they pro-abortion for that matter), and there is no "death panel" that will determine your fate. However, if you were to listen to Sarah Palin, or worse yet, your average Fox News commentator, you would think that Obama wants to pull health care out from under the old and less productive citizens.

With a plan so full of holes, terrible assumptions, unintended consequences, outrageous costs, and ridiculous new taxes - why even bother with this quasi-euthanasia issue? It should be insulting to every American that their representatives don’t think they can comprehend the more complex reasons why the plans are terrible for our country, so the representatives scare them by over-exaggerating a non-issue, ignoring all of the other more pressing issues along the way. Or worse yet, the representatives themselves cannot comprehend the more complex reasons why the plans are terrible for our country.

All the current proposals provide is a free consultation on end-of-life options and an independent board to develop guidelines on what procedures are required and which are not effective enough to justify the costs. Does this equate to euthanasia? Does this mean lesser care? I’m very opposed to more government involvement in health care, but these specific proposals actually make sense. If the stated goal is to reduce the cost of health care, there is no better place to look that at the last year of life, where the costs are huge (27% of Medicare costs). Some might call this rationing, but if we need to reduce costs, we need to be smarter about the care that is given – particularly in our last years. Remember, efficient care is also more effective care.

Instead of pandering to the elderly (who are most likely Republican already), shouldn't the Republicans be courting the young independents who are out there in droves and ripe for the picking? The same young independents who are sitting at home and wondering which party they want to hitch their wagon to in the next election cycle? Those who oppose the current legislation need to regroup and focus on the major issues with the new health care proposals (increased government involvement, huge costs & taxes, etc.), instead of contributing even more populist drivel to the debate.


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