Friday, July 31, 2009

There Is Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

OK people it is time to remind you that the anti-health care group is going to lie to you in any way and at any time they can. Fear is their biggest weapon and the ease and speed in which this fear can be spread is their greatest resource. That makes e-mail their most insidious agent. The number of people who send on false information by e-mail is staggering. To those people I say, "Stop It. For God's sake, stop it!"

If you receive an e-mail that states some outrageous claim as fact check it out before you send it on. One of the best places to start is, a website that keeps track of all the rumors floating around the Internet. Snopes will tell you whether or not what you read or heard is true.

Right now people are sending an e-mail around that claims, under the proposed health care reform bill (H.R. 3200), seniors will be required to have euthanasia counseling every five years. Oh my God, the Obama administration wants old people to hurry up and die! Those bastards!

This, of course, is not true. As Snopes explains:

Section 1233 is saying that Medicare will pay for an "advance care planning consultation" no more often than once every five years unless the patient's health status changes as a result of certain diagnoses or the patient is admitted to a nursing home, long-term care facility, or hospice. Such a consultation may result in a written directive about care and that directive may include information about such areas as antibiotics and intravenous feeding and hydration as well as the usual DNR instructions and any wishes with regard to facility transfer.

In other words, Section 1233 is creating new type of "treatment" that will be paid for by Medicare. It will only pay for one such consultation every five years unless the patient's health status changes, in which case Medicare will pay for a consolation when that change occurs. This is not a mandate; this a new entitlement.

In other words, "Advance Care Planning Consultation" will be no more "compelled" than the "intensive cardiac rehabilitation program" or the "kidney disease education services" listed [elsewhere in the bill]. The five years is a limitation, not a requirement.

(Complete Snopes article here.)

If this does not convince you that "killing seniors" is not Obama's aim, maybe AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Executive Vice President John Rother's reply to the misinformation spread by one person recently will:

More concerning, Ms. McCaughey’s criticism misinterprets legislation that would actually help empower individuals and doctors to make their own choices on end-of-life care.This measure would allow Medicare to pay doctors for taking the time to talk with individuals about difficult end-of-life care decisions. It would help provide people with better information on the positives and negatives—both physical and financial—that different treatments can mean for them and their families. Facing a terminal disease or debilitating accident, some people will choose to take every possible life-saving measure in the hopes that treatment or even a cure will allow them more time with their families. Others will decide that additional treatment would impose too great a burden—emotional, physical and otherwise—on themselves and their families, declining extraordinary measures and instead choosing care to manage their discomfort. Either way, it should be their choice.

This measure would not only help people make the best decisions for themselves, but also better ensure that their wishes are followed. To suggest otherwise is a gross, and even cruel, distortion—especially for any family that has been forced to make the difficult decisions on care for loved ones approaching the end of their lives.

(Complete AARP statement here.)

So please, please, please make sure the information you receive in an email is true before sending it on to others. If you do receive false information from someone be sure to let them know that what they sent you is wrong. The only way to fight fear mongers is to expose their lies for what they are and to not let them spread any further.

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