One of the most disheartening elements in the current debate over health care reform is the number of false claims designed to replace reason with fear.
Some of these false claims have suggested that the proposals now being debated would create a government-controlled health care system; that these proposals would put federal bureaucrats between doctors and patients; and that advocates of reform are willing to sacrifice the lives of patients suffering from deadly diseases. None of those is true.
No one is well served when frightening falsehoods are substituted for fact-based debate on an issue as important as health care. Irresponsible misstatements could impair our ability to reach effective, commonsense and critically important reforms.
We know that more than 270,000 Georgians between the ages of 50 and 64 do not have access to affordable health care; we know that half of all Americans know someone who has cut back on taking necessary medication because they can’t afford it; we know that, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, one-third of all Americans are reducing their retirement savings to pay for health coverage.
These are grave issues, which will require our best efforts to craft effective, compassionate solutions. As a nation, we can’t afford to have the health care debate poisoned by lies and willful distortions.