People get angry when they are lied to and that is precisely what is happening in town hall meetings across the United States – and on U.S. TV networks.
Democratic Senators and Congressmen are being heckled at constituency meetings as they struggle to justify the government take over of health care. Legislators with a cursory knowledge of the 1,000-page health care bill are failing to mollify their better-informed voters. Some are simply lying about what the bill really means.
During the presidential election campaign, Barack Obama presented himself as someone who would bring the nation together to find solutions. His policies so far are doing the opposite. And his town hall-style meeting on Tuesday revealed his own confusion about the health care issue.
Speaking in generalities, he blamed the insurance companies but then said the private sector ran other sectors better than public alternatives, such as the post office. And he said that under current plans people could keep their existing insurance policies anyway. So are the insurance companies the problem or not?
He claimed that the $15 billion per year spent by the government to fund its Medicare Advantage program is simply given to the insurance companies as pure profit and would be diverted to avoid health care rationing under a government run system. But Advantage provides competitive choices for seniors, serving to reduce costs to the government (and reduce bureaucracy), not increase them.
Part of the problem is that the President doesn’t actually have a health plan of his own. He chose to leave the drafting of his health care bill to Congress, whose ultra-partisan Democrat leadership spawns largely from the anti-Vietnam War protest era, and he asserted a need to pass it quickly, before the August Congressional recess.
That was a recipe for chaos. With that deadline missed, citizens are now having an opportunity to learn what the bill contains – and they are objecting in droves. The elderly, in particular, are angry at the rationing that comes with any nationalized health service.
The President has created a drafting process under which everything is up for grabs. Now he has to wait and see what the final bill looks like. But until it emerges, he can’t even say definitively what the legislation will and will not include. This leaves him to address vague and contradictory issues to friendly audiences and rely on his stock claim that “All we wanna do is…” (fill in the blanks).
The White House response to the furor has also drawn ire. Trade unionists have been brought into meetings to intimidate concerned citizens, while the White House has established an email hotline, asking its supporters to forward any emails they receive that raise objections to the reforms. The White House has not explained what it will do with the resulting enemies list.
But most of the misinformation is coming from the bill’s sponsors, the President himself and their supporters in the media. The President even made the extraordinary claim on Tuesday that government run health care would be deficit neutral because it would be more efficient and take money away from insurance companies. Such over-stretches in logic breed public distrust.
While President Obama has pledged that Americans could maintain their health insurance if they want to, the draft legislation allows it to be taken away. When asked about this recently, Obama said that he was “unfamiliar with that particular clause”. Hardly reassuring.
According to Fox News Channel commentator, Bill O’Reilly, viewers are switching to his cable network because it is the only one providing both sides of the story. He may be right. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC are all presenting the bill as some sort of salvation, while characterizing the everyday folk who are protesting it as right-wing extremists.
Keith Olbermann on MSNBC says it is a lie that the bill contains health care rationing. But when you pay for any service through taxation and provide it free at the point of purchase, that is exactly the system you create. That is why you get waiting lists for medical treatment in the UK and Canada and that is why some procedures are denied to patients there.
The BBC mischaracterizes the bill’s opponents as conservatives when many are Democrats and independents. It also wrongly states that most of the reforms are supported in opinion polls when most Americans oppose government run health care.
Democrat leaders and TV networks are shocked that their version of humanity is being rejected and they can’t come to terms with why it is happening. In their minds, the only fair system is one run by the government. How could anyone other than a radical hold a differing view? Hence the branding of opponents as extremists.
Instead of recognizing that Americans don’t want to risk their health to a socialist system, the political and media elites are rationalizing that the people are being misled and they are sliming anyone who can’t envision their utopia.
Democrats won the Presidential and Congressional elections in 2008 but they are still trying to rediscover how to govern. People voted for “change” but candidate Obama never explained what this really meant. To win the White House he didn’t need to. Now, as the changes are finally being unveiled, regular folks are balking.
The Democrats are learning that, even with majorities in both houses, public support is needed to do something as monumental as a take over of one-sixth of the U.S. economy.
America is being torn apart by Democrat health care legislation. Something will have to give. Where is the political leadership?