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Defend Your Health Care

Website exploring the implications of the Obama health care proposal

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Betsy McCaughey, PhD scrutiizes the Obama health care proposal.

  • Jul 31, 2009
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+5

SHE HAS ACTUALLY READ THE BILL!   Betsy McCaughey is a health care scholar, patient advocate and a former Lt. Governor of the State of New York.  As such, she is eminently qualified to examine and comment on HR 3200 better known as the Obama health care proposal.  What Betsy McCaughey has  found tucked away in the pages of this bill can only be described as breathtaking!   It would appear that the American people are being asked to consent to a brave new world of healthcare that features substantially longer waits for treatment less access to new medical devices,  life-saving drugs and specialists and a frightening new emphasis on "end of life" counselling for our seniors.  If you don't believe it just take a look at page 430 of HR 3200.   The President has told the American people that this legislation encourages people to consider drawing up a "living will".  This in and of itself is certainly not a bad idea.  But what President Obama and other advocates of this bill have not told you is that in addition " the bill prescribes counseling on whether or not to forego nutrition, hydration, and antibiotics, in states where such counseling is permitted".   Now turn to page 443 where it states that  patients will participate in "shared decision making".   As Betsy McCaughhey observes "Shared with whom? The government certified counselors?   Nowhere is it stated that the patient unilaterally has the final say.  The bill merely says the patient’s views will be "incorporated" into the decision making."   This is scary stuff folks and it is provisions like this in HR 3200 that the American people need to be aware of before this billed is rammed down our throats. 

Other highlights of the Obama health care bill that you should be aware of:

Two main bills are being rushed through Congress.  Under either a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest and you will be forced to enroll in one of these "qualified" plans.  If you now get your plan through work your employer has a five year "grace period" to switch you into a qualified plan.  If you buy your own insurance you will have even less time.

As soon as anything changes in your contract, such as a change in co-pays or dedeuctibles, which many insurers change every year, you'll have to move into a qualified plan instead (House bill pp. 16-17)

When you file your taxes if you can't prove to the IRS that you are enrolled in a qualified plan, you'll be fined thousands of dollars, as much as the average cost of a health plan for your family size, and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan.  (House bill pp 167-168).          

By taking the time to read and dissect HR 3200 with a fine tooth comb, Betsy McCaughey has done the American people a great service.  Recent polls have indicated that the American people have grown increasingly leery of the President's health care proposal.  And with good reason.  The more the American people learn about the provisions included in HR 3200 the less they like it.  The devil really is in the details!   I urge you to take a look at this website.  There is tons of information about this issue right here including the 1,018 page bill.  Aside from analyzing the contents of HR 3200 Betsy McCaughey also proposes some very creative solutions to address some of these problems.  I was particularly  intrigued by her proposal for a debit card system for health care (similar to the food stamp program) and by her idea for specialized Medical Courts to adjudicate medical-related lawsuits.  The fact is that the demand for medical services in this country has outstripped our ability to pay for it.  We are probably all going to have to make do with less.  Better to have a national conversation about how to do go about this than to have Congress and the President dictate the terms without even consulting us.   TIme spent at defendyourhealthcare.us  is indeed time very well spent.     Very highly recommended! 
Betsy McCaughey

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August 13, 2009
It's good to see Betsy McCaughey back from the dead. As George Pataki's LG she ran afoul of the Governor and was buried for eight years. On to Health Care - there has been so much disinformation and hyperbole on both sides that it is almost impossible to find a clear-eyed perspective when all we seen to dwell on currently are the theatrics and stagecraft surrounding the "Town Hall" meetings. You may not agree with all of McCaughey's conclusions but at the very least she has the expertise and intellectual rigor to delve into the sausage. Admittedly, I have not read any of the four current versions of the legislation but one thing is glaringly obvious... the rush to push ANYTHING through before the August recess suggests that Obama is far more interested in checking it off his to-do list rather than opening up a transparent discussion of the myraid of issues that inevitably arise when you attempt to transform 1/6th of the American Economy. Slow down and let's do it right.
 
August 13, 2009
This is a very sound write up, but consider a few things.  The first being that you're listening to someone's interpretation of the Bill rather than actually reading it yourself.  And the problem with interpretations is that we're not exactly sure if they're right or wrong. 

Take when Betsey says about the "Shared Decision Making": "Shared with whom? The government certified counselors?   Nowhere is it stated that the patient unilaterally has the final say.  The bill merely says the patient’s views will be "incorporated" into the decision making."  Betsey makes it sound scarier than it is.  The Bill doesn't state that the patient DOESN'T get that final say, though.  The bill also goes on to define Shared Decision Making.  It's a "Shared Decision Making Program."  Which means you don't have to participate in it if you don't want to.  I'm simply asking that you take a look at the bill for yourself and try to understand it for yourself.  The reason the healthcare debate seems to be getting so bad is because very few are actually doing research into this.  Instead they're turning to people who are simply there to tell them what they want to hear.

Think about why people are becoming "Leery" of this plan.  Remember, everyone was all for it before people started trumping around saying things like, "The Government is going to kill your grandma!"  Which isn't true.  So the question is... are people becoming Leery because they actually don't like it... or because some of the stuff they're being told about it isn't true and they're believing it anyway?  That's not a bad question to ask.  People don't know what to think right now because people don't know if what they're being told is true.  And instead of seeking that truth, people are intentionally going to places where they're being told exactly what they want to hear.  In short, if you believe this healthcare bill is bad you're going to keep searching until you find someone to reinforce what it is you believe.  Everyone gets a little high off that (no, seriously, everyone gets a little buzz from that sort of "This guy agrees with me!" sentiment).  So people are becoming leery... but consider that some are becoming leery because they're being given the wrong information... and believing it.  What I'm saying is, of course people are going to be leery when you say, "This will kill your Grandma..."  But is that true?  But instead of finding out if that is true, people are listening as people like Glenn Beck tell them what's in a bill they have openly admit they haven't read.  Betsey is certainly better, at least.  But I still think we'd be better off reading the bill for ourselves rather than listening to people tell us what's in it.

I think the President, Congress and the Senate actually were trying to let us in on the discussion.  But that's a little hard to do when people are shouting them down at townhalls.  What I'm saying is that the rhetoric from some of these people at the town halls seems to be irrational.  What I'm saying is, it's come to the point where President Obama or one of the Democratic Senators could look someone in the eye and say 2+2=4 and someone would scream "You're lying to me!  Quit lying to me!"  There's not going to be a national discussion if we continue with this, "Who can scream louder?  Those supporting the healthcare bill or those against it?"  Because that's what it's become.  This isn't a nationalized debate anymore.  It's a mess.  I think there is a line that needs to be drawn when we start calling for people to be killed...  You have people coming to these townhalls who don't even want to protest healthcare anymore.  How can we have a national discussion on healthcare if some people don't even want to discuss it in the first place?

There's a lot more that I think we have to work to find out.  We can't just keep listening to both sides bicker.  We have to do our part and research too.  I'm going to read the bill for myself.  You should do the same.  Let's both read it and see what we can take out of it.  I gave you the link because I keep hearing "The bill hasn't been posted..." It has been and it's been there for a while.

Sorry for such a long commen.  I think it's an important discussion, you have a good write up, I just think there's a lot more to it than what we're being told... and the only way to what that something more is is to actually read the bill for ourselves.

August 13, 2009
Thanks for your comments. This is an important and difficult subject. However, I must totally disagree with you when you say that you think that "the President and the Congress were trying to let us in on the discussion." I think average people have been reacting to the fact that their views have not been considered in this debate. The Obama administration seems hell bent on ramming this through come hell or high water. During the Presidential campaign I distinctly remember Mr. Obama talking about the need for national discussions on a great variety of important issues. I concur. Certainly health care would be right at the top of that list. Candidate Obama promised a transparent process. He even indicated that he would like to bring all of the stakeholders to the table to thrash out differences and have such meetings televised on C-Span for all to see. Rather what we have seen is an autocratic approach that a large segment of the American people resent and reject. The American people have educated themselves on this issue and have legitimate questions that they want answered.
August 18, 2009
I would disagree slightly.  I don't think people have really educated themselves enough.  You have people going to protest things that have nothing to do with health care.  That seems to tell me that even now, some of it is more ideologically based rather than not.  By that, I mean that the only reason some (not all) of these people are protesting is because it's a Democrat in office, not necessarily because they disagree or even believe the misinformation they're getting.  Let's put it this way.  Let us say that hypothetically a Republican was doing this exact same thing (again, hypothetically, I can't imagine most Repubicans would, but for the sake of my point let's say so).  Do you think most of these same people would be protesting?  I don't think so, in all seriousness.  Because politically they'd be on the same side.  So I think some of them are simply protesting because it's a Democratic bill rather than based on what's actually in the bill.  

Also, if people were educating themselves more on this, then they'd realie there's nothing in the bill about "pulling the plug on Grandma" as Chuck Grassley said.  I finished reading the bill yesterday (that's a long read, and part of the reason I took so long to respond).  There's nothing even close to what Grassley said in the bill in and of itself.  There's no "Death Panel" or anything in there either.  So why are people believing that there are?  That's a curious thing.  My thought is that they probably DON'T believe that, but again, this is mostly about the opposite political party being power rather than their own personal beliefs.  I was able to roam around Grand Junction when Obama was there and just looking at the protesters... it's amazing that in the debate over healthcare... there are so many people not even protesting healthcare.

It just seems like people are opposing the bill because they don't like the people in power rather than actually seeing what's in the bill.  Again, it just feels more like people are listening to talking heads rather than actually going out and checking to make sure this stuff is factually based.  Take Chuck Grassley and his "pull the plug on Grandma" statement.  It's not true, but look how many people are running with it.  

As I said before, a lot of it seems more politically based than not.  At this point you could say 2+2=4 and if it came from someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum they'd be called liars.  That's what it feels like.  Does the bill deserve some scrutiny?  Absolutely.  It's a difficult thing to read and needs a bit of revision, but not for the reasons that the people are protesting.  Again, of course you're going to get lots of worried people when they're being told "They want to pull the plug on Grandma..." but what bothers me is that people aren't actually finding out if statements like that are true or not. 

I don't mind good healthy debate or people not liking the bill or being against reform or anything like that.  But I do think it's our job as Americans and as participants in this debate to find out if these things are true or not.  What are we being told?  And is what we're being told true?  There's a lot of misinformation out there and misrepresentation of just what's in the bill.  I believe it's our job as Americans to wade through it too.  I don't believe most are.  Because Republicans want so strongly to believe the Democrats are wrong and Democrats want so strongly to believe they're right.  In short, it seems unrealistic to think that either side is going to take their opposition that seriously. 

But my last question actually comes on a very serious topic.  I don't mind discussing healthcare, but my big thing is that almost everyone agrees there needs to be some form of Healthcare... the Republicans are good at standing against Obama's healthcare plan but I haven't heard much of anything about what they would propose as an alternative.  I'm interested in hearing from the Republicans what would be best.  That would bring about more discussion, I think.  And I'm sure the Republicans have got some good ideas... I just wish I could hear more of them, you know?  
 
July 31, 2009
I agree with your conclusions. And I am no fan of insurance entities-public or private. I hate to give authority to low level bureaucrats and clerks. But the end of life issue is worth discussing. What is important here? The amount of life? The presence of a beating heart? Or the quality of life as decided by the individual or their representative? You should have a living will and a power of attorney for health care so that end of life decisions can be made with respect to your wishes. If I am brain dead with no chance for recovery, take my organs and withhold nutrition, hydration, and antibiotics.
 
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Betsy McCaughey, PhD

Betsy McCaughey is former Lt. Governor of New York State.  McCaughey frequently appears as the right-wing "health care expert" on news talk shows, where she mis-represents planned legislation on health care reform. 

In the nineties, McCaughey lied to the American public by claiming that the planned Clinton health care reform bill would make it illegal to have private health insurance.  That was utterly untrue.  She is currently claiming that a proposed health care bill requires end of life counseling, which is again not true.  The bill states that if patients opt for end-of-life counseling, that should be covered by the plan.

In 2004, she founded the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (
www.hospitalinfection.org), a nationwide educational campaign to stop hospital-acquired infections. She serves as the CEO and Chairman of the organization. In three years, RID has made hospital infections a major public issue, provided compelling evidence that preventing infection improves hospital profitability as well as saving lives, and won legislation in over 20 states for public reporting of infection rates. RID has become synonymous with patient safety and clean hospital care. Dr. McCaughey’s research on how to prevent infection deaths has been featured on Good Morning America, the CBS Morning Show, ABC’s 20/20, and many other national programs. She has appeared on Fox News Network’s Hannity & Colmes, ...
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