Today's post is long. It may be the longest post I've written in five years, but at least half of it is easy-to-read lists. I hope you will read it all.
If you have watched any of the video of disruptions at congress members' town hall meetings in their home states over the past week or two, you know that elders make up a large number of the crude, rude protesters who are preventing reasoned discussion. Although the guy who shouted, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare” is good for a laugh, he is also emblematic of the ignorance of many of the people opposing health care reform.
That so many if these benighted louts who have no interest in real debate are old enough for Medicare is deeply embarrassing to me. Not that getting old imparts wisdom necessarily; anyone who wasn't too bright in their youth is unlikely to improve with age. But I haven't spent the past five years trying to knock down prejudicial stereotypes of elders to be proved wrong on CNN, MSNBC and YouTube every day those videos are broadcast.
I am not sure a Fox News poll can be trusted, but they report that although 93 percent of seniors rate their health coverage (i.e. Medicare) as good or excellent, 56 percent “say they oppose the creation of a government-run option for all Americans.” Additionally,
"'We get letters every single day from people that are very upset about this bill and about the AARP supporting it,' said Stuart Barton, president of the American Seniors Association. 'So I don't blame them for coming back and saying they are going to tear up their AARP cards.'"
- foxnews.com, 10 August 2009
Ignoring for the moment that AARP's support is tepid, is the point those 56 percent are making that government-run health care they like should be reserved only for them and not their children and grandchildren? I don't want to believe that and I don't want to believe that a majority of elders are that stupid.
Even though it is always easier to rage against an idea – particularly when your argument is fact-free – than to intelligently debate the pros and cons; even though I suspect the kind of people who shout down speakers at town halls and are becoming increasingly violent cannot be reasoned with, that is what I am asking every elderblogger who reads Time Goes By to do – to explain reasonably why you support health care reform.
Here is what I propose:
- That next week, on Thursday 20 August, elderbloggers rise up on their blogs in support of health care reform including a public option
- That we denounce the say-no-to-everything Republicans and their handmaidens, the Blue Dog Democrats
- That we call out the health industry and their lobbyists who are bribing Congress with campaign donations to maintain the health care status quo and preserve their staggering profits
- That we fact check the lies, half-truths and exaggerations of the scare-mongering media nitwits who dare to compare the health care bill to Nazi Germany and who shout fascism, socialism and Communism without a gram of understanding of those terms
- That we reinforce the the fact of the backbreaking cost of health care that will skyrocket so high in the next decade, without health care reform there can be no economic recovery.
And so on.
Post your stories in support of health care reform on Thursday 20 August. Then email me the link and I will keep a running list of those links on my post throughout the day. If there are enough, we can make an impact elsewhere on the web and maybe in other media. If there are enough to be impressive, I will do my best to see that word gets around.
And if before then, you post a notice about the 20 August campaign, your readers, who have never heard of Time Goes By, may join in too.
Your 20 August post does not need to be long or cover everything; you could choose a single aspect of health care reform. Here are a few talking points to consider:
- Refute the euthanasia rumor
- Expose the amount of health industry lobby money your congressional representatives and others have received
- Post the statistics showing why the current American health care system is inferior to that of most industrialized countries
- Denounce the scare-mongering of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sarah Palin, Lou Dobbs and others
- Show how health care corporations and/or their lobbyists are behind the town hall protests
- Explain why you, who have Medicare, support health care reform
- Talk about why a public plan is better than the co-ops some legislators are pushing for
- Make clear that health care reform will not cut Medicare
- Refute the rationed care claim
- Report on the high number of personal bankruptcies our health care system causes
- Tell a personal story about our current private health care system (this can be powerful)
- Canadian, British, French, German and other nationals who read this blog can also join in with stories of how your system works
- Et cetera - there are many more topics you could choose
And in all your posts, be sure to link to your sources to back up your facts.
Below are links to some of the better websites and stories with facts, information and commentary to help get you started.
• Here is a New York Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner speaking in Congress on the 44th anniversary of President Johnson's signing of the Medicare bill. Weiner is one of the best friends of health care reform we have. You can see more of his videos here.
• A good explanation of health care industry lobbying efforts with a chart showing dollars figures of specific corporations and organizations
• A good group of links about the myths and facts of health care reform at Campaign For America's Future
• The Senate Committee on Aging's Fact v. Fiction list [pdf]
• From Alternet: How the Republicans and health care industry work with the anti-government wackos
• Long-time health care industry reporter, Robert Pear's excellent primer on the details of the health care reform bills
• Here's another video filled with the lies from the Patient First bus tour comparing health care reform to Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler and telling his listeners to “put the fear of God” into Congress members. He says the reform bill calls for “an end of life order...death.” Don't miss this. [5:01 minutes]• Bill Moyers on the “dangerous alliance" of the health industry and right wingers.
• Gallup Poll on demographics of uninsured Americans
• A lot of solid information on health care reform from FactCheck.org
• Media Matters for America keeps tabs on what the media are saying and keeps them honest.
• A good piece from Dean Baker explains how and why some legislators and media get away with lies and crazed rants.
• Good information from Bill Sher on how to contact Congress and what to say.
• Keith Olbermann can be as overwrought in his own way as some of the objectionable protesters, but this “Special Comment” on how specific congress people are bought by the medical establishment is worth the 13:26 minutes. Pay attention; there are a lot of other solid facts to be gleaned.
Too many elders, who all have their own single-payer system that works quite well, are being selfish in opposing reform for everyone else – I've got mine and screw you.
But unless meaningful health care happens, Medicare will need to be cut way back and then elders will be among the underinsured – or even uninsured – too. (That's another good topic for a post.)
Health care reform is the most crucial element to economic recovery. If it does not happen, or if it is watered down too much to serve the corporate health care industries' interests over people's, only the rich will be able to afford health care. If that happens, I don't want to have to say I sat back silently and watched it happen.
But no one can do it alone.
Maybe I'm just a foolish old woman who is being grandiose in overestimating the impact her little blog on aging might be able to have. But among RSS, email and direct visits, thousands read it each week. Many do not keep blogs, but there are about 400 on the elderblog list and if only a quarter of you do post a story about health care reform on 20 August, it will be impressive.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Meow