There was a big debate during the infamous town hall meetings in 2009 about government “death panels” that the new health care reform would institute.
“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil,” wrote Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, on her Facebook page in 2009, according to Talking Points Memo. Republicans were quick to throw the term around, misleading people right and left.
“Let’s just talk about death panels. Here’s the truth. I just said what I’ve said, that grandma or teachers, it’s going to be a decision. I would rather have the free market decide that,” said Glen Beck, Fox News commentator, on the Glen Beck Program. It seems like Beck has the wrong version of truth. The “death panels” statements were called the “Lie of the Year” in 2009 by the PolitiFact.com, a fact-checking initiative by the St. Petersburg Times. The website rated this lie as “Pants on Fire”, which means, “The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.” Clearly Beck didn’t do any homework he simply jumped on the Republican bandwagon.
Most Americans don’t take the time to read the bills that go through the Congress every year. Health care reform bill is not an exception. People rely on the media and their representatives in the Congress to tell them what is good and what is bad for the America. This is where the truth gets skewed by the lobbyists with fat wallets fed by the corporations. Their responsibility is to their shareholders; high profits, decreased expenses, and nothing to worry about. Whatever it does to the people is collateral damage – the way of a free market economy.
Republicans are itching to begin repealing the new health care bill after winning the House Majority. “As they seek to make good on their campaign promise to roll back President Obama’s health care overhaul, the incoming Republican leaders in the House say they intend to use their new muscle to cut off money for the law, setting up a series of partisan clashes and testing Democratic commitment to the legislation,” writes Robert Pear for the New York Times. They were unable to lie their way into stopping the health care bill from being passed. They tried to scare American public with “death panels” knowing that most Americans will not question them. Their new strategy now is to cut federal funding for the health care law.
Controlling majority in the House gives Republican party an upper hand, they are able to pass bills fitting their agenda and reject bills that do not fit; that is one major perk they will use to try and repeal the new health care law. “The American people are concerned about the government takeover of health care,” said Robert Boehner (R-OH), the Republican House Minority Leader and possible Majority Leader for the new Congress, according to LA Times. “I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity and replace it with commonsense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance in America.”
If Republicans are concerned with what American people think of the health care law, why haven’t they actually listened? A recent AP poll, conducted by the Standford University, found that four in 10 adult Americans think health care law doesn’t go far enough. While 30 million Americans would be insured by 2019 when the law is fully in effect, 20 million others would still be uninsured, according to CBS News.
Republican concern for the senior citizens in America is very surprising. In 2003, Republicans passed the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003. The law allowed pharmaceutical corporations to maintain high prescription costs. At the time, some Republicans joined Democrats that believed that “the bill was too expensive and a sellout to the drug companies,” according to CBS News. The law did not provide senior citizens with any help for rising prescription costs. It even prohibited government from negotiating lower prices with the drug companies, something Department of Veteran Affairs does extremely well to maintain low prescription prices for the veterans. The real GOP constituents, pharmaceutical corporations, were happy with the new law. It offered them an opportunity to make profit on the senior citizens.
Yet, over the years, Republicans seemed to develop a passion for the senior citizens; using grandma as an example of a possible victim of Obama’s “death panels”. But, is this newly found passion stemmed from the right sources? Their constituents haven’t changed. The Democrats began pressing on health insurance providers to be fairer, to offer affordable health insurance to more people. This meant fewer profits for the corporations, so they began yanking on the Republican strings. There’s a reason why GOP has so much money to spend on advertisements portraying Democrats as the Devil. Money doesn’t grow on trees, unless you’re a Republican. Then you got that big old corporate tree with limitless resources.
For the Republicans facilitating privatization of Medicare in 2003 was just a stepping stone to increasing profits for the corporations. This time it is health care, they want to take it away from the people who are looking forward to finally having health insurance. It’s like taking a candy away from the child, but in this situation the candy holds the key to a healthy life. After all, they can’t allow the bottom line of their constituents to be affected by the new law, it’s like biting the hand that is feeding you.