Thursday, October 29, 2009

Healthcare: Getting to the bottom of death panels and socialism

Socialism? Death panels? Euthanization of senior citizens? Angry town hall meetings? Increased taxes? Force and coercion?
The smattering of headlines plaguing our newspapers and TV screens are enough to send anyone’s head spinning. With recent talks of health care reform, it’s easy to avoid the topic entirely because maybe your parents are still paying your bills. Whatever your reason is for not taking the time, consider that very soon you might have wished you were listening. The least you could do is read this article.
Nationalized or universal healthcare is “medical care for all citizens that would be paid for by the federal government and provided by doctors and hospitals regulated by the government. Coverage would include all eligible residents of a political region and often covers medical, dental and mental health care…Universal health care is implemented in all industrialized countries, with the exception of the United States. It is also provided in many developing countries” (
It’s true; the United States remains one of the last countries to adopt a form of nationalized healthcare, besides Africa. According to the Associated Press, healthcare reform has been on the table since Theodore Roosevelt suggested it in 1912. Other presidents such as Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson pushed for it as well. If presidents have been encouraging health care reform for awhile now, what stands in their way?
Since the first announcement of a plan for healthcare reform, angry town hall meetings have sprung up in concerned communities across the country. Some republicans such as Tennessee governor hopeful Zach Wamp and conservative Republican Senator Jim DeMint declare that health care is a privilege for those Americans who can afford to pay for it, but not a right (
Mike Mennard, a communications teacher, has his reservations about the government’s ability to spend money wisely. “When even the chair of the committee says it’s too complicated to understand, and a vast majority of senators haven’t read it, it is too complicated to work well.”
Gary Bollinger, Union financial VP, said, “I just think that the plans for health care reform are being pushed too hard and too fast without fair evaluation.”
The three core principles Barack Obama has suggested for health care reform are to reduce costs, guarantee choice, and ensure quality care for all (
Dan Lynn, professor of music, supports the health care reform because it offers more choices than ever before.
“We are the only industrialized nation on earth that doesn’t provide a form of universal health care,” Chris Blake, professor of English, tells me. “Consider just a partial list of needed reforms: coverage for the uninsured, cost control, no preconditions, no denial of care, keeping care when you change jobs or get sick, equal treatment for women, exorbitant deductibles, and no lifetime caps.”
Union college registrar and native of Sweden, Osa Berg, told me about nationalized healthcare back in her home country. “The underlying principle of nationalized healthcare is equality. Every citizen has rights. It would be devastating if Americans rejected this plan.”
According to, universal healthcare for all Americans would be a positive move because, “the number of uninsured citizens has grown to over 45 million…healthcare has become increasingly unaffordable” and “…patients with pre-exiting conditions can still get healthcare.”
On the other side, universal healthcare would be a negative move because, “universal healthcare will not be “free” we will pay for it with our tax dollars, there be longer waits for treatment, and government mandated programs may reduce doctor flexibility and lead to poor patient care.”
Keep in mind that anyone who claims to have a balanced view on politics doesn’t. Everyone has a bias. Everyone has an opinion. So who can you trust?
Making heads or tails out of the healthcare debate is not up to the Clock Tower, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, or any other news reporter touting “the truth” about health care reform. When it comes down to it, at the end of the day, feel good about your decision to sort out the truth from the lies, as difficult as it may be sometimes. Talkt to people you know and respect. Consider how this will affect you and your community. Deciphering fact from fiction and sharing our thoughts remains one of the greatest rights Americans have: choice. Use it wisely.

(The Clocktower, September 2009)