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Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting The Facts of politics straight

"You lie!" yelled Republican House member Joe Wilson as President Obama gave a speech to congress on health care reform. “that’s not true,” the president responded. Of course, we later found out that it was Joe who way lying. What was the question and what is the truth?

These days, stretching the truth or even blatant lying seems common by our elected officials. I would argue that we should be able to look to our political leaders for details and facts. In order to support a candidate, we need to know what issues or agenda they support. If our politicians are distorting the facts, how can we accurately support the candidate that matches up with our personal views?

The lying and deceit seems more evident than ever, especially in the great divide that now exists between our congressional lawmakers. I would argue that one side tends to lie more than the other, however, both sides are guilty. Let’s take a look at the recent Health Care reform legislation. The lie of the year, according to Washington Wire, come from Sarah Palin. She of course is the former Governor of Alaska and would have been the number 2 behind McCain had he been elected President.

From her facebook page in July 2009:
“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”

We of course know that there are no “death panels” in the health care reform bill. This was a blatant lie and potentially dangerous statement to make, especially from someone who could have been the Vice President of The United States. However, many members of the GOP jumped on board including the RNC Chair Michael Steele. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was one of the Republicans endorsing and spreading this lie. About a month later when question on “Face the Nation”, Grassley did admit that the bill does not contain language in reference to death panels…somehow without admitting he was lying.

Back to our new friend Joe “YOU LIE” Wilson. Joe’s outburst was in response to President Obama explaining that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the Health Reform Plan. As we now know, there are no health care benefits for illegals, but since Joe’s outburst, polls show that some people still think that there is.

According to the Pulitzer prize winning Politifact website, we took a look at the top 3 lies regarding Healthcare reform.:

1. "forcing Americans off of their current health coverage and onto a government-run plan (is) exactly what the Democrats' plan would do." - House Republican leader John Boehner. False, false, false. There are many reasons why this statement is simply untrue but the most evident fact is that there is not a government run plan. You can’t force people onto a plan that does not exist. Under the healthcare reform legislation, insurance plans are still provided by private insurance companies.
2. “Preventive care saves the whole health care system money” - Barack Obama, Wednesday, September 9th, 2009. Not True according to most experts. While early treatment saves the patient money, the benefits don’t outweigh the costs of additional screening procedures, again according to experts.
3. “In the health care bill, "The 'Health Choices Commissioner' will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None."LIE, ewwww, this one even got rated ‘pants on fire lie’ by politifact. We know the health reform bill let’s people keep their existing plan and sets up exchanges for people who do not have coverage to select from a group of providers. Your health benefits are not decided for you.

Now I certainly do not support everything in the Health Care Refom bill, however, my support (or lack thereof) should be based on facts of the bill and not rhetoric. What are the accountability laws or regulations that keep this from happening? I think we should demand better from our Congressional leaders. We the people, after all, elected them and trusted them on our behalf. Shouldn’t they be accountable to reporting back to us with accurate facts so that we can properly express our support for or against legislation? I know we deserve better, and that is no lie!

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