Health care is the topic in the U.S. government right now, thanks to President Barack Obama. Congress is doing the dirty work of writing up a health care reform bill, but Obama’s insisting that it be done by the end of August (because without a deadline, nothing in Washington gets done).
Government involvement in health care has been a hot-button issue in the U.S. for years — at least since Hillary Clinton tried to reform the system in the 1990’s, if not before. Many people, especially online, become furious at the thought of government involvement in health care, or at the idea of not providing health care for all.
Part of the problem is myths and misunderstandings. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and for some people, if it’s on the internet or on the radio it must be true! So they’ll spread the misinformation further and further, until it turns into fear and anger.
Myth: The current health-care reform bill will result in government-run health care and/or socialized medicine.
Not any more than in the current system. People will still be able to keep their private and employer-paid insurance. A public option is not government-run health care either. People would still be getting health care through private insurance companies, hospitals, clinics and physicians, like members of Congress do. The government would not actually be running hospitals and clinics (except for the Veterans’ Administration). They would just be paying the insurance bills.
Myth: Pages 16-19 of the current health care reform bill say that private insurance will be outlawed!
This myth is circulating right now on blogs and in blog comments. I haven’t found anything about this from a reputable media source, and I’ve also read pages 16-19 myself (you have to view it in PDF to get page numbers). Nothing in the bill outlaws private insurance. In fact, this section is all about protecting people’s existing insurance plans.
Myth: The government is going to tax our employer-paid health benefits in order to pay for this program.
I heard about this on Facebook. I’m not sure how widely this myth is circulating, but I do know that President Obama has stated that he will veto any bill that removes the tax exemption for health insurance premiums. So I don’t think there’s much chance of this happening.
There are probably more examples, but the best way to avoid falling for a myth is to do your own research. Don’t just believe what you’re told (even what you’ve read here). Get the facts. Read the actual bill. Be informed, regardless of what your opinion is. I’m not 100% in favor of this health care reform bill; I’m more a fan of single-payer health care. But I do want to know what’s going on, and I want to know the truth.
Read the full text of H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, at govtrack.us.