At a town hall in Reston Tuesday night, Governor Howard Dean and I debunked some of the fabrications currently circulating about the health reform effort.
It was a raucous event with supporters outnumbering a smaller, but vocal opposition, many of which were from well outside of my congressional district. Here are a few of the myths vs. facts that I discussed during my remarks.
MYTH: A government-run public option would force employers to drop their coverage and force everyone onto a public plan.
FACT: Under the bill, no one can ever be forced onto the public plan. The only way a person would join a public plan would be through the person’s own individual choice. Furthermore, CBO projects that, rather than the bill forcing employers to drop their coverage, more employers will provide coverage under the bill.
MYTH: Healthcare reform will lead to rationing. A government-controlled “Health Benefits Advisory Committee” would decide how much care I receive.
FACT: Nothing in this bill permits the government to make healthcare decisions for you or to ration or withhold healthcare services. The Health Benefits Advisory Committee has no role in determining what treatments individuals will be entitled to; it will simply recommend the minimum standards of care and benefits insurers must offer. The Committee will be made up of mostly of providers, consumer representatives, employers, labor, health insurance issuers, and independent experts.
MYTH: Death panels made up of government bureaucrats will decide whether or not elderly Americans deserve end of life care.
FACT: Nothing could be further from the truth. America’s Affordable Health Choices Act extends Medicare coverage to cover the cost of patients voluntarily speaking with their doctors about their values and preferences regarding end-of-life care-empowering older Americans to take control on this critical issue. These are deeply personal decisions that take thoughtful consideration, and it is only appropriate that doctors be compensated for their time.
MYTH: Under the reform, my tax dollars will be used to provide healthcare for illegal immigrants.
FACT: This is completely false. Taxpayers will not fund health care for undocumented workers. H.R. 3200, Section 246 states that “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”
MYTH: The reform bill would mandate abortion coverage in all public plans, thus making taxpayer dollars available to fund abortions.
FACT: Abortion is not mandated in any reform legislation. Currently, private insurance companies make their own decisions about whether or not abortion is a covered procedure. Current reform efforts will continue in that vein and allow consumers to choose a plan that is provided by a company that is in line with their own moral decision about abortion.Under the current status quo, insurance companies – not patients or doctors – hold all the power in the U.S. healthcare system. They can decide whether or not to cover treatments, procedures and routine visits to the doctors. They can decide to raise premiums, deny coverage, or delay care without any accountability. This has led to millions of Americans being shut out of receiving health care altogether, a phenomenon that drives up health costs for everyone else. As I discussed on Tuesday night, that’s why we need reform…now.