14 Aug 2009
August 14, 2009

Health Care – Reason and Empathy


How in the world did the health care debate get so ugly?  This isn’t about sacrificing the well being of the American people on the altars of Communism or Corporate Greed.  It is – or it should be – about  an issue that directly affects everyone and how to make the system work better for everyone.   So people on every side of the multifaceted debate just need to chill out, focus on what’s important, and see if we can get a comprehensible program that works.  One rule to follow is:  if a provision of a proposed bill sounds too outrageous to be true, it probably isn’t.  See  http://democrats.org/RealityCheck; see also http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/.

Take one issue – “Death Panels.”  Here right wing demagogues take a minor provision in a house bill providing Medicare funding for medical counseling and turn it into a bureaucrat’s decision to kill you when they decide it’s too expensive to keep you alive.   Of course, the claim simply untrue.   In fact, such counseling is important as people age and have to face quality of life decisions.  My family and had to make such decisions regarding both my parents.  In the case of my mother, we met with a hospital panel including a patient advocate, treating doctor, family doctor, and priest to discuss how best to proceed.  The decision to cease providing life support was ours, but talking to these folks was helpful.  These are the kinds of issues that are tied up in the health care debate that should be addressed with reason and understanding – not overheated political rhetoric.

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