"A Daily Dose of Truth" (#10):
Opponents' input into health care reform
Truth is witness to the whole. One short sound-bite taken out of context -- even if it's a fact -- does not necessarily represent the whole truth. We denounce the use of such sound-bites (from any party!) when they are intended to pervert truth for political gain. In the end, we acknowledge that a manipulation of facts to frighten and confuse vulnerable populations is just plain immoral.
When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010, we accomplished something that had never been done before. Comprehensive health care reform had passed all five Senate and House committees of jurisdiction and both Houses of Congress. Most steps along the way were marked with bi-partisan negotiation and input, even though the final Senate and House votes fell along party lines. The law's final language embraced a century's worth of ideas from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
What has surprised many observers is that the post-reform opposition either focuses on provisions that current opponents have supported in the past, or neglects the provisions that were included to garner bi-partisan support. Just a few of those provisions are highlighted here; others will be addressed later.
The Affordable Care Act:
... retains and builds on the private market system of health insurance. Single payer health care was never on the table for discussion, and the public option was eliminated in the course of negotiations. Government participation in the new system is designed to protect the common good by enforcing protections in the private market for all of us, and by offering paths to coverage for those who have been excluded from the private insurance market.
... requires that almost everyone have health insurance. Such a requirement has been advocated by conservative policy analysts and health economists for two decades as a measure of shared responsibility. It was previously supported by Republican lawmakers who introduced similar legislation in the early 1990s. This requirement was a key to the Massachusetts reforms supported by former Gov. Mitt Romney (R). Democrats warmed to the idea only after sufficient premium subsidies were included to make the purchase of insurance more affordable for persons in the individual market.
... supports the role of states in making health care affordable and accessible for their residents. While enacting a federal vision for a system of health care that would include almost everyone, the new law preserves the long-held Republican principle for decision-making at the state level. The insurance exchanges (marketplaces) will be operated by states that choose to do so. The regulation of the private insurance market will remain a state responsibility within a federal framework that seeks fairness for everyone across state lines. States will have the opportunity to propose innovative alternatives to the federal plan if they can provide comparable coverage at a comparable or lower cost. States may opt to collaborate with other states to offer insurance across state lines.
... funds state-based demonstration projects to address medical liability lawsuits. Republican lawmakers have traditionally been the driving force advocating for reforming medical malpractice lawsuits. The new law does not impose federal regulation on this issue, but provides federal funding which may be used for state-based demonstration projects to lower the costs related to malpractice litigation.
In the end, when the Affordable Care Act was signed, Republicans did not get everything they wanted in health care reform, but neither did the Democrats. And that is what negotiation and compromise are all about. When the labels of political parties are removed, and when health care reform is discussed honestly and respectfully, there is broad agreement on how the provisions of reform move us toward a more inclusive, affordable, accessible, and accountable system of health care.
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For more information:
Republicans Turn Against Their Own Health Reform Proposals: A Center for American Progress review of ten controversial provisions in the Affordable Care Act
The Republican Pledge on Health Care: The health care excerpt from the Pledge to America, excerpted and posted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (Future editions of A Daily Dose of Truth will address the issues raised in this document.)
The Six Republican Ideas Already in Health Care Reform: An article by Ezra Klein in the Washington Post (actually written before the law was passed, but still relevant)
Reform's Big Secret: Health Bill's Full of GOP Ideas: An article from the Daytona Beach (FL) News-Journal (written before the law was passed, but still relevant)
>>> Note: Faithful Reform in Health Care is diligent about remaining non-partisan in its efforts to educate people of faith about health care reform. Unfortunately, this discussion is very partisan. The inclusion of what can be perceived as partisan materials in this Daily Dose is done in an attempt to present somewhat objective answers to partisan questions.
A Daily Dose of Truth Online
Complete set as printer-friendly PDF file
#1: Medicare in Health Care Reform
#2: Health Care Reform and Home Sales
#3: The Requirement to Buy Insurance in Health Care Reform
#4: There's a Lot to Like in Health Care Reform
#5: Making end-of-life decisions
#6: The "R" Word (rationing) in health care reform
#7: Health care reform & small businesses (including faith communities)
#8: The tax on "Cadillac" health insurance plans
#9: Repeal? Defund? Dismantle? Or move ahead?
Make suggestions for future topics based on the mis-information you are receiving in ads, emails, and conversations. Simply send an email with your suggestions.
About "A Daily Dose of Truth"
It's clear, the attack on health care reform will continue as we move toward the time when the new Congress begins its work in January 2011. Even if the attacks are not completely true or, even worse, false, they are working. The mis-statements, selected to elicit fear, are having a profound impact on our electoral and legislative process. Shame on us!
As people of faith -- trusted messengers -- it's our turn! With fewer financial resources, but with relationships that reach into the depth and breadth of our communities, it is our job to transcend partisan politics and economic self-interests, and to be the truth-tellers in support of a compassionate health care future with a system that includes and works well for all of us.
We begin with the declaration that "truth is witness to the whole." We know that one short sound-bite taken out of context -- even if it's a fact -- does not necessarily represent the whole truth. We denounce the use of such sound-bites (from any party!) when they are intended to pervert truth for political gain. In the end, we acknowledge that a manipulation of facts to frighten and confuse vulnerable populations is just plain immoral.
We can change what's happening, but it means each of us must be willing to share the TRUTH when we hear it. We can and must make a difference because health care is, first and foremost, a people issue that should not be relegated to the caverns of political ideologies. In sharing TRUTH, we are not supporting one candidate over another. We are simply making sure that people make their choices based on truth that witnesses to the whole -- not on distorted perceptions based on mis-represented facts.
"A Daily Dose of Truth" will arrive in your email on most weekdays to help you compare what you are hearing to the real TRUTH in the Affordable Care Act. Please help spread the message to the far reaches of our country -- via viral email, Facebook, telephone calls, chats with neighbors, and discussions in your communities of faith. Help us counter what is touted as true (with a little "t") with what is actually the TRUTH!
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