President Obama in this morning's weekly address warned Americans
that his foes will "scare and mislead" in order to preserve the status
quo as they fight his lead in reforming health care, and he once again
shot down the "death panel" silliness:
…let’s look at one of the scarier-sounding and more ridiculous
rumors out there – that so-called "death panels" would decide whether
senior citizens get to live or die. That rumor began with the
distortion of one idea in a Congressional bill that would allow
Medicare to cover voluntary visits with your doctor to discuss your
end-of-life care – if and only if you decide to have those visits. It
had nothing to do with putting government in control of your decisions;
in fact, it would give you all the information you need – if you want
it – to put you in control of your decisions. When a conservative
Republican Senator who has long-fought for even more far-reaching
proposals found out how folks were twisting the idea, he called their
misrepresentation, and I quote, "nuts."
He reiterated the now familiar requirements of what he's advocating,
including eliminating caps on coverage and pre-existing condition
exclusions as well as requirements for coverage of preventive care.
And, in case anyone has forgotten since the last one hundred times he's said it: If you want to keep your own doctor, you can.
He evoked the spirits and battles of Democratic presidents in the
past and reminded Americans of the hard fights and ridiculous
scare-mongering faced by his predecessors:
So when folks with a stake in the status quo keep inventing these
boogeymen in an effort to scare people, it’s disappointing, but it’s
not surprising. We’ve seen it before. When President Roosevelt was
working to create Social Security, opponents warned it would open the
door to "federal snooping" and force Americans to wear dog tags. When
President Kennedy and President Johnson were working to create
Medicare, opponents warned of "socialized medicine." Sound familiar?
Not only were those fears never realized, but more importantly, those
programs have saved the lives of tens of millions of seniors, the
disabled, and the disadvantaged….
Nearly fifty years ago, in the midst of the noisy early battles to
create what would become Medicare, President Kennedy said, "I refuse to
see us live on the accomplishments of another generation. I refuse to
see this country, and all of us, shrink from these struggles which are
our responsibility in our time." Now it falls to us to meet the
challenges of our time. And if we can come together, and listen to one
another; I believe, as I always have, that we will rise to this moment,
we will build something better for our children, and we will secure
America’s future in this new century.