Sunday, June 21, 2009

As Public Supports Gov't. Health Care, Republicans Continue Fear-Mongering

A recent poll shows overwhelming public support for a government-run health care system:

Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll found that most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance and that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector.

...The national telephone survey, which was conducted from June 12 to 16, found that 72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers. Twenty percent said they were opposed.

Despite these numbers, the Republicans continue to employ fear-mongering rhetoric, including "takeover," "rationing," "bureaucrat" and "socialism." Meanwhile, most Americans are subject to the decisions of health insurance bureaucrats. These bureaucrats–to use one of the GOP's terms of horror–decide which doctors are "in network" and "out of network." They don't allow treatment for new clients who commit the crime of having a "pre-existing condition." They have an economic incentive to deny treatment in general.

Newt Gingrich has made the absurd statement, "This administration would destroy the American health care system." Is he under the illusion that the American health care system is thriving and meeting the needs of the population? Despite the fact that 47 million have no coverage? And despite the fact that, according to a Harvard University study, half of all Americans who declare bankruptcy do so because of illness or medical bills? Are Canadians and Europeans clamoring to free themselves from "socialized" health care in exchange for our completely privatized system?

As the debate over health care legislation heats up, Republicans–along with Democrats such as Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska–will continue to express doubts over a public option that threatens the private insurers who fund their campaigns. Expect, too, more of the same rhetoric about the horrors that await us under a public health care system, as outlined in the following video:

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