I also have served on the board of directors for a benefits trust, and in that position spent considerable time reviewing various employee health insurance plans. Although I know far more about health insurance now than before I joined that board, I am by no means an expert on health insurance or health care.
So why do so many folks on radio and television think they are? They are hardly specialists when it comes to most subjects, but when they open their mouths, they expect everyone to accept what they say as fact. That holds true for the current discussions on health care reform.
Not long ago, my husband received the following e-mail message from a friend, who happens to be the publisher of several medical, pharmaceutical, and biomedical publications in Canada. He gave us permission to present his comments, which I am doing so unedited:
I caught a moron named Glenn Beck on the radio. No doubt you've seen him on TV. Horrible piece of sewage. What does it say about the broadcasting industry that they put a defective like this on public display? Anyway, he's explaining to a caller how healthcare works in Canada: "They have a lottery, and if you win the lottery, you get to have medical treatment."While I don't believe every Republican or every Democrat or every political partisan is a monster or saint or what-have-you, Mitch makes a very valid point about what category people fall into when they choose to outright lie to scare people into believing something that isn't true. To pretend you have to somehow come up with a golden ticket to get your GI tract checked if you live in a country like Canada has no basis in reality. Neither does the myth of no choice being perpetuated.
You could write a book about the problems in healthcare here and, fool that I am, I did. But the GOP and its flunkies are offering LSD-fueled fantasies about how a single-payer system operates. Last night I caught Lynn Cheney (!) telling Larry King that you can't choose your own doctor in Canada. The ignorance, the deception, the insistence that poor people need to die from their illnesses, and the middle-class need to be impoverished when they get sick: what manner of monsters are these Republicans?
And the same goes for the scores of other lies being tossed about to persuade people that reform is evil, that reform is a shortcut to no care and certain death, and that reform will result in everyone losing employer-provided insurance.
Enough. Get the facts. They are available. Just don't go looking to people whose "facts" are fiction and are presenting wholly biased views masquerading as expertise. They are barely one step up from the snake oil salesmen of the past, whose elixirs were surefire cures for everything that ailed you but more likely made you sick. That's what they would like you to think single-payer systems or universal care or public options would do. You owe it to yourself to get a second opinion -- from an expert.