Putting National Healthcare Before the Death Panel

If you do not pay your taxes, the government will come and kill you. No, seriously, I mean it.

Barack Obama at a White House Forum on Health Reform
Barack Obama at a White House Forum on Health Reform

Didn’t believe me? Well, I don’t blame you. It sounded like a ridiculous claim. Yet somehow people are falling for the equally ridiculous assertion that if you are old or disabled, the government will line you up before a panel of intimidating officials and decide at whim whether you are allowed to live.

The thought that the Obama administration would advocate such a policy is absolutely absurd, let alone that Congress, endlessly pressured by their constituents and special interests alike, would pass such an outlandish bill. The constant cries of “socialism” this and “communism” that have plagued the debate and left the rest of us educated citizens wondering, when will a real debate on healthcare occur?

Sit any average citizen down and they would not be able to tell you one actual item from Obama’s bill. Instead, the media and many Republicans (and Blue Dog Democrats) have harped on death panels, communist conspiracies, and other ridiculous charges and no one has really gotten to hear about the true nature of a national healthcare system. Fear-mongering is preventing the 45 million uninsured in this country from even receiving the most basic of care.

The opponents of this reform have taken an idea about end-of-life counseling, which would in reality  be free counseling for terminally and other seriously ill citizens struggling with impending death, and completely demonized it through hearsay. All of a sudden, Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, where this idea of death panels took off from, is a reliable source for factual political information. It’s hard to imagine that Palin would never make biased, one-sided claims on her own personal social networking page.

There are many great plans in Obama’s plan that many people don’t seem to notice. For example, anyone who is happy with their insurance will be allowed to keep it. Not only that, they will receive new improvements to the current system that will only benefit them. It makes discrimination against a person based on age unlawful. Also, as someone who plans to get the flu shot, the provision that, according to BarackObama.com,  “Eliminates extra charges for preventive care like mammograms, flu shots and diabetes tests,”  benefits people who take preventative measures for illness.

When it comes to the uninsured receiving government care, the main opposition seems to be the potential cost. I am not a financial expert, but Obama’s reform project plans to never add to the deficit. Also, the plan addresses the issue of malpractice. Under Obama’s reform plan, there are measures to reduce the potential for a doctor to be sued and allow them to “focus on putting their patients first, not on practicing defensive medicine,” as explained on President Obama’s website.

I feel like the real debate on healthcare needs to be had. If people are truly believe that death panels will come after the elderly or that the United States is becoming a socialist nation, then the media and Congress alike are not doing their job in informing the constituents about the real facts. Healthcare is too important of an issue to make up exaggerated and nonsensical arguments just to enforce partisan politics and prevent real change.

About Deanna Falcone

Deanna Falcone (CAS '11) is a liberal political columnist for the Quad. She is a political science major and is originally from Danbury, Connecticut.

View all posts by Deanna Falcone →

One Comment on “Putting National Healthcare Before the Death Panel”

  1. Good point that people shouldn’t be listening to heresey. Bad point on advocating the plan without properly going over the costs and benefits (and yes D, you definitely advocate in the article). Most economists will tell you that the plan is probably not going to be successful…because of a large number of provisions that will increase healthcare consumption without reducing costs (and btw we actually support government intervention in healthcare so don’t point the libertarian finger at us).

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