Health care critics using skeptical scare tactics

Frankly speaking, more members of Congress should take a clue from Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee.
A protester at a Dartmouth meeting Wednesday on health care held up an Obama poster on which she had drawn a Hitler mustache, stepped up to the podium and asked Rep. Frank why he supported a Nazi health care policy.
He let her have it with both barrels:
“On what planet do you spend most of your time?” Frank asked her.
“Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it,” Frank added.
The fact is that many of the criticisms of the health care reform bill taking shape in the House are flat-out lies that should be treated with the dismissive contempt that Rep. Frank rightly showed.
As President Barack Obama has said over and over again, he will sign no bill that interferes with a citizen’s right to choose his or her physician and those who like the health insurance they now have will be allowed to keep it. There is nothing in the bill that would dictate end-of-life care, only a proposal to pay a physician for consultations with a patient seeking advice.
There is nothing in the bill, or in any other proposed legislation, that would raise business and personal income taxes to 53.9 percent to pay for health care reform, as the Tax Foundation charges, and is being promulgated on Republican talking-point papers.
It is true that the current subsidy given to the insurance industry to increase their profits on Medicare Advantage insurance, which competes with Medicare, would be eliminated under administration proposals, but that will reduce government spending rather than increase it.
It is not true that more than 100 million would lose health insurance now provided by their employers, as was stated in the handouts provided by Rep. Lynn Jenkins in her visit to Iola Tuesday.

UNFORTUNATELY, it is true that the scare tactics used by the insurance industry and other health care reform critics have been effective. Many members of Congress are backing away from reform proposals that would rein in costs while increasing the emphasis on preventive care because lobbyists have frightened the public into protesting against real reform.
The United States spends almost twice as much on health care as do other rich nations of the world. Those nations, including Canada, Japan and all of the countries in Western Europe, have universal care systems and can boast of better health outcomes than Americans enjoy. Moreover, there are many cities and health care entities in the United States that deliver good health care at a cost far below the national average.
As has been reported in the Register, the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic provide their patients with the best health care in the world at an annual cost far below the national average, based on Medicare records.
It has been clearly demonstrated that higher costs elsewhere are created through over-use of the system; excess testing, treating and medicating that do not enhance patient well being and appear to be the result of a desire to increase provi-der income.
It will not be possible to reduce U.S. health care costs without setting up a system that limits testing, treating and medicating to levels proved to be effective by such outstanding providers as the Mayo and Cleveland clinics. Expanding coverage through federal subsidies without reining in over-use would be very expensive folly.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.