The Season of Lies

Obama-HealthcareBy The David

America has been taken through a spin concerning Universal health care and The David tells why.

My friend Carl asks me; “How can you tell when a Republican is lying?” I don’t quite know what to answer, so he tells me; “When his lips are moving.”

It is, of course a joke. We laugh.
We laugh. Then I turn to the news and realize we are truly enmeshed in a tragic web of lies. It is known by anyone who is willing to accept hard evidence that Barak Obama is a United States citizen by birth, that he was born in the State of Hawaii. It is known by anyone who is willing to accept the hard evidence provided . His birth document has been supplied by the authorities in his birth-State. Yet even with this evidence, the lie persist. This lie has taken on such a life of its own that those who are dumb enough to believe it and promulgate it are given their own name: they are called “birthers.” The birthers are fueled by those talking heads that reside in the nether regions of the Far Right. They promote a certain false patriotism in their listeners as they, at the very same time, speak to the spark of a racial prejudice and attempt to carelessly fan it into flame. They seem to believe that it is important to preserve the polarization that exists between the Right and the Left, even if it means sacrificing the progress that could be made under this very moderate president and his administration. Every politician within the Washington DC beltway knows that the place of Mr. Obama’s birth should not be suspect. What should be suspect, and should be so without a doubt, is the agenda of any politician who questions it. If we give the benefit of the doubt to those who, during the campaign, raised questions, we also need to recognize that the questions have been answered, and there is nothing progressive about disregarding that evidence for no other reason than a poisonous distraction from the work that needs to be completed.

I recall the joke, and I smile.
I am a believer in Universal Health Insurance. I am a believer in the Single Payer Option. I am a believer in Medicare. I am offended by the lies being told to defeat any repair of the mangled group of medical services that is called “health care” in these United States. I have worked as a provider , and have seen it all from the inside. This so-called system produces outcomes that are, to put it mildly, poor. We lag behind too many of the industrialized nations of the world in such areas as longevity and infant mortality. We brag that we administer the best medical care in the world, but the statistics tell us other-wise. The population needs to know this, and they need to ask why. We are still the wealthiest of countries. We have many, many health care practitioners who are capable and compassionate. Why then are so many of our people left to twist in the wind without health care, and without access to the doctors and hospitals that we take for granted? When and why have we become so selfish that we don’t care to give those who are poorer a hand up? Why do we allow a “system” to flourish that makes affordable health care an oxymoron even when there is an option on the table that will take a giant step toward leveling the field and providing a means for those who are poor to be insured and thereby gain access to the care that, from a moral perspective, should be available to them.

Why the lies? One lie in particularly is offensive beyond words. This is the lie designed to put fear into the heart of anyone who is elderly, anyone who loves an elderly person, and anyone who realizes that they too will be elderly someday. This is the lie being promoted by Insurance Companies, Pharmaceutical Houses and Social Conservatives: Obama’s Death Panels. This particular lie is patently ridiculous, and yet it has gained credence. Of all the untruths being told about this attempt to make Health Insurance available to all Americans, this is the most unconscionable since it instills and then preys on the fears of those who might be at a vulnerable point in their lives.

What are these so-called death panels, and what have these liars hooked onto? To answer that, you need to know that for the past thirty or so years those involved in health care have been encouraging those who enter the hospital or otherwise are the recipients of health care, to prepare what are called “Advance Directives.” These documents are simple but can be very important to the preparer. They might include such things as the appointment of a relative or friend as your Health Care Agent. This agent would be someone who is aware of your wishes and can speak for you in the event that you become incapable of speaking for yourself. The directives could also include a “Living Will.” The Living Will would address your wishes as to what measures you would like taken in the event that you become incapacitated due to illness or accident, and there is no hope of recovery. It addresses what the writer chooses: should a respirator be an option? Does the writer of the will wish to be kept alive through the use of machines? Does the writer expect heroic measures, or would “Comfort Measures” be the choice. Comfort Measure can include intravenous hydration, medication for pain, antibiotics should an infection be present and all other interventions designed to keep the person comfortable. Once again, the options contained in any Advance Directive are totally and completely in the hands of the person authoring the documents.

What the current proposed health care legislation allows is for anyone who should want to prepare an Advance Directive but is not sure how to go about it, to have access to a counselor who would answer questions and, if necessary, assist in the preparation of the documents. This service is not to be obligatory, but if used would be covered by Medicare. So, your so-called “death panel” is merely a step to make the preparation of Advance Directives easier and affordable for all.

Talk about a Death Panel are lies. Lies! Sara Palin knows this; Orin Hatch knows this; Rush Limbaugh knows this; Newt Gingrich knows this; Ann Coulter knows this; Michelle Malkin knows this; John McCain knows this; and Alan Keyes knows this. All of them are aware that there is no proposal for death panels, nor are there measures to bring benign neglect to elder care. These charges are made only to engender fear. They are lies. Lies are told for a purpose, so it might be a good thing to ask who gains if the President’s Health Care proposal goes down to defeat? The Conservative wing of the Republican Party gains as they attempt to once again gain credibility, even if that credibility must be gained on the backs of the poor and elderly. The Insurance Companies gain and the Insurance lobbyists gain as their pocket-books continue to be stuffed with health care premiums. The Pharmaceutical Houses gain as they continue to gouge the public for the medications they need to continue to live. If this Health Care Bill passes, it might be that the government can then institute a system whereby mass buying power could eliminate the high prices charged to all of us. ( The insured is also hurt when the medication is either not covered, or is one where an insurance functionary decides it must be in a category where the deductable is prohibitive.) All of these groups have a stake in seeing that the Health Care Bill does not become law and all of these groups are behind the lies.

I recall the joke, and I am no longer smiling.
Do I believe any single party has a monopoly on the practice of lying? Not so… but the lies being told regarding Universal Health Care are particularly telling and particularly cruel.