Debunking the right's health care propaganda

Thursday, August 13, 2009 | 3:24 p.m. CDT; updated 11:12 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 3, 2009

Commentators love when someone – anyone – responds to an article. Mind you, those responses are few and far between. Some are supportive, some are not, and others are quite hostile.  I tend to laugh at the hostile responses, usually from the radical side of their political positions, right and left, because of atrocious spelling (spell check people!), lack of logic and vague citations for their information.

Persuasion is defined as the attempt (successful or not) to change an audience’s or individual’s point of view or opinion, or it is a call to specific action, using reason, proofs and passion.  

Propaganda is persuasion. It can be “good,” like commercials for your favorite soap. It can be “bad,” like a call for immoral and despicable acts. Propaganda uses fear and danger as its tools, emotion as its proofs, anger as its passion and mass media as its communication. Some extremists have learned to use propaganda very well.

Extreme conservatives’ newest sweetheart, Sarah Palin, has mastered propaganda well. As have Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and many other far-right pundits.  All have become experts in using fear and danger as their sole tools to extinguish anything that may be slightly left of their extreme right-wing positions. They are excellent at name-calling, making allegations without proof and distorting the “truth” to anger their listeners and readers. 

The attacks include calling the proposed health care panel a “death panel.” That HR 3200 will encourage (I heard “demand” on a talk show this week) euthanasia. That rationing of medical treatments and drugs is inevitable. That those who support any form of universal health care are socialists, communists, fascists and Nazis (sometimes all at the same time), and it will cost more in the end than health insurance does now.

There is an irony here.  The insurance and drug industries are supporting the health care initiative. They understand that things must change if they are to remain in business. They understand that the public is more upset with them than the government.  They see savings and profits from health care reform. And, like my 11-year-old grandson, they want someone else to do the work. The only hesitation they have is the “Public Option.”  It will create a new level of competition that insurers and drug companies are not use to.

The right-wing talking heads misrepresent foreign universal health care systems with horror stories of people waiting for treatment, treatment rationing and denials. For every Canadian, French or English health care horror story one hears, I can give you 10 concerning the horrors of private health insurance in the states.

In 1996 while visiting Canada, I became ill. I waited about an hour to see a doctor, was examined for almost 40 minutes and was released with medication for an infection paid for by the Canada Health Act, “Medicare.” The majority of my Canadian friends, liberal and conservatives alike, would not give up their “Medicare” for a U.S.-style system.

If you are concerned about who is monitoring and controlling your health care, demand the removal of the current HMO laws. Today, nonmedical “professionals,” who are reading from manuals designed in part by actuaries, are determining your treatment, care and pharmaceuticals. HMOs have a chokehold on you, and some want more. Masochists!

“Health care reform is vital for all uninsured patients living in the U.S., particularly the hard-working Americans who don’t have access to the health care they need. In fact, 8 in 10 uninsured… are in working families,” said Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, of the American Medical Association.

Our Constitution says, “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union… promote the general Welfare…” In 1789, welfare was defined as “health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being.” Our Founding Fathers knew that if the country is not healthy, prosperity cannot be achieved.

David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. He welcomes your comments at

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John Schultz August 13, 2009 | 8:11 p.m.

David, where did those onerous HMO laws come from? GOVERNMENT! Thank you sir, may I have another?

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance August 13, 2009 | 10:25 p.m.

John, I think David knows the laws come from government. Market failed John, time for health care change. Dave knows it. Time to stop profiting off the sick and suffering.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 13, 2009 | 10:47 p.m.

Oh yay, here's Tim with his platitudes again. David says past government regulation and laws were the problem so let's fix it with even more regulations and laws. Sounds like a perfect plan to me.

Maybe you'll answer those questions I put to you the last time we discussed things and you ran off for a bit (much like David did in his column from last week). Here's the discussion to get reacquainted with:

And I'll throw this one in as well since I'm feeling particularly snarky tonight:

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 14, 2009 | 1:16 a.m.

Any one have accurate Cliff Notes on this?
The best I could find is the following....
Until something better comes along, I'll stick with the gist of what's being said against HC3200 as more true then false.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance August 14, 2009 | 11:31 a.m.

Seen this all before 15 years ago, scare tactics, lies, misinformation. The forces of reform know better now and people will know that 1) Profiting off the sick is wrong and 2) The market has failed them. Insurance companies make $$$ off of kicking sick ppl off of plans or leaving them off all together.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 14, 2009 | 1:24 p.m.

Tim you are free to take out a loan and start your own insurance company or medical center and run it however you like. In fact I hope you will and that will bring in more competition.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance August 14, 2009 | 3:58 p.m.

Uh no. Unlike Libertarians and conservatives. I will not not want to profit off the sick and using our current model is unsustainable. Market fails here Allan. your canned libertarian response about starting you own insurance company makes me happy I voted for the other guy.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 14, 2009 | 4:46 p.m.

Who says you have to profit if it is your company? Couldn't you just operate it in a near break even point? It also sounds like you are admitting that the government run health care will not make money. Do you think they will be able to break even? I don't think they will be able to and then they will either A, raise taxes or B, print more money, neither is good for the economy. If they can operate at a loss they will put other businesses under water and that is not good for America.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 14, 2009 | 6:09 p.m.

Allan, funny how Tim trusts Uncle Sugar when he says that competition is good, just like the government-subsidized (how many billions of losses this year?) and government-controlled (no one but the USPS can send first class letters) monopoly that the Post Office has. But if we say competition and the free market are good for the economy, we're evil, nasty brutes who don't like our fellow man. Pshaw!

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 14, 2009 | 10:13 p.m.

Well it just amazes me on why we would trust the government when they already run Social Security and it is broke. I would be leery of any program that exempts congress from participating. I think congress and their families should be the the first to try it out and lets see how they like it and what it costs.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 15, 2009 | 2:56 a.m.

("Well, we talk about the health market. We don't have a health market. We have 50 state markets.

And although there are many insurers, in many states there are only one or two who are active. So what we need to do, first of all, is create a national market. I would like to see the responsibility for regulating health care removed from the states entirely and put in the hands of the federal government.

We don't regulate banking at state level anymore because it doesn't make sense. That should be true with insurance as well. The federal government should set rules. Here are the requirements for what a health plan should look like.

The reason almost every product is cheaper and better and more convenient in the United States than it is in other places is because of the size of the national market. No surprise that when the national market is cut up for one product, that is the product that is the most troublesome.

A second immediate thing, if you're self-employed, the way more and more people are-- and you want to go buy a plan, you'll have to play with after-tax dollars. Employers buy with before-tax dollars. If you're a small business, you get a much worse deal than big businesses. We need to regulate, level this field. One of the ideas that originates with the Heritage Foundation that was adopted by Republican Governor Mitt Romney are these health insurance exchanges that allow individuals and small business to buy on more equal terms.

Health exchange. We need to begin to sever the link between employment and insurance. It is just-- it's a holdover irrationality that you get your insurance through the place where you work, that discourages people from leaving. People who get ill, when they're at a job are then indentured because they can't-- so long as they can work at the old company, they are covered under the old plan. If they move, they can't get a new one. And there-- and that is an artifact of the tax code. And we need to correct the elements for the tax code that do that.

Breaking the link between employment and coverage. We have a terrible problem right now with the cost of Medicaid are divided between the federal government and the states. This is a formula, always, for irresponsibility because the people who are not only-- are states spending 50 cent dollars or in some cases less, but worse, when it comes time to cut budgets, a state, especially a state that gets a lot of money from the federal government, says, "If we take dollar out of Medicaid, we buy a dollar's worth of political pain. And yet we only get 40 cents of budgetary benefits." So that makes no sense. And so Medicaid ratchets endlessly upwards with no one really in control of it. We need, I think, to have to locate Medicaid either with the states or with the federal government, not continue to divide them.")
Watch the David Frum interview:

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