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Staff editorial: Don't derail health reform


Health care reform will kill old people. It will ration care. It is socialized medicine that will hurt Medicare, is too expensive, and will let the government make life-and-death decisions for you. Oh, and it will also keep you from getting the care you need.

That about cover it? Did I miss anything?

The spin machines and special interest groups are at it again; using myths, misinformation, and scare tactics like these to derail health care reform.

And it's no surprise - their business isn't fixing the health care system or addressing any real issues, it's waging partisan political warfare, deceiving and scaring the masses in the process.

The real victim is the American public. These efforts make it harder to get the facts and stand in the way of fixing our current health care system for simple political gamesmanship, nothing more.

Here is the reality: most of us know someone who is struggling with the broken health care system -a neighbor who can't afford their prescription drugs, a friend struggling to keep pace with medical costs, a relative who can't get insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition, a son or daughter just out of college, with no job and no health care. For most of us, this issue hits close to home.

And for the millions of people struggling with a broken health care system, let's clarify a few things:

Myth: Health care reform is socialized medicine.

Fact: It will preserve employer-based health care and provide a range of private plans for people buying coverage for themselves. The so-called "public plan" option will give consumers another choice if they can't find quality, affordable coverage in the private market. Every proposal would allow people to choose their own doctors and their own hospitals.

Myth: Reform means rationed care.

Fact: None of the proposals being considered would stand between individuals and their doctors or prevent any American from choosing the best possible care. Instead they will help ensure doctors are paid fairly so they will continue to treatMedicare patients.

Myth: Health care reform will hurt Medicare.

Fact: None of the proposals would cut Medicare benefits or increase out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services. They will lower prescription drug costs for people in the Medicare Part D coverage gap or "doughnut hole" so they can better afford their prescription drugs and reduce costly, preventable hospital readmissions, saving patients and Medicare money.

Myth: It's too expensive - we can't afford it.

Fact: The President and Congress have committed to producing legislation that will be paid for so it won't saddle our children and grandchildren with debt. If we do nothing, families with Medicare or employer-based health coverage premiums and the share of income spent on health care will both nearly double in the next seven years.

Myth: It will allow the government to make life-and-death decisions for you.

Fact: Health care reform will NOT give the government the power to make life-and-death decisions for anyone regardless of their age. Those decisions will be made by individuals, their doctor, and their family. To be clear, no one, including the government or your insurance company, will be given power to make life-and-death decisions for you.

We need to move forward with the best solutions regardless of whether they come from Democrats or Republicans. Members on both sides of the aisle agree that the status quo is unacceptable.

The final health care reform package will include a mix of ideas from both parties and both houses of Congress.

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