The battle for healthcare reform is starting to get very, very ugly. I’ve not had much time of late to blog, but there’s some pieces in today’s news I want to make sure readers catch. First off, is the whacky statement that Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook today. Palin said:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Karen Tumulty has a perfect response on Swampland.
Next up is the town halls being held around the country that are turning in all out brawls: “The Tea Baggers Are Back — Crazy as Ever.” And Paul Krugman noted today that “at least one congressman has received” death threats.
Steven Pearlstein lays it out in his column in the WaPo today:
The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they’ve given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They’ve become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.
Pearlstein goes to say:
The Republican lies about the economics of health reform are also heavily laced with hypocrisy.
While holding themselves out as paragons of fiscal rectitude, Republicans grandstand against just about every idea to reduce the amount of health care people consume or the prices paid to health-care providers — the only two ways I can think of to credibly bring health spending under control.
When Democrats, for example, propose to fund research to give doctors, patients and health plans better information on what works and what doesn’t, Republicans sense a sinister plot to have the government decide what treatments you will get. By the same wacko-logic, a proposal that Medicare pay for counseling on end-of-life care is transformed into a secret plan for mass euthanasia of the elderly.
Government negotiation on drug prices? The end of medical innovation as we know it, according to the GOP’s Dr. No. Reduce Medicare payments to overpriced specialists and inefficient hospitals? The first step on the slippery slope toward rationing.
Can there be anyone more two-faced than the Republican leaders who in one breath rail against the evils of government-run health care and in another propose a government-subsidized high-risk pool for people with chronic illness, government-subsidized community health centers for the uninsured, and opening up Medicare to people at age 55?
While some in the media have been stepping out and calling this mess what it is, a scheme cooked up by the right wing to keep lining the pockets of their coporate donors, many are still not delving into the fray. We, Democrats, Liberals and Progressives need to stand up and be heard. But not cross the line into the ugly fray the Republicans are foisting.