09/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dose of Truth: Five Facts About Health Care Reform

My favorite outrageous lie about health care reform is the "gay conspiracy".  
According to a group called "The Pray In Jesus Name Project," which sent out a
lengthy fundraising mailer on the subject,
health care reform will not only put our elderly out to float on icebergs but
adorn those icebergs with men in leather chaps and feather boas. Sounds like
those death panels will be fabulous!  

The Pray In Jesus Name
Project took a fleeting reference in one Senate bill that says students of
"different genders and sexual orientations" should qualify for government grants
--- and contorts this into a claim that a public health insurance option will
require sex change operations for everyone and result in a gay takeover of the
health care system.  If only...

The problem is that repeating these myths,
even to debunk them, only gives them more power. Mocking them or parodying them
is one thing.  But think about how much traction "pull the plug on grandma" got
once the President uttered it from his lips.  The myths and lies are designed
not only to mislead and gin up fear among the American public but also to
distract advocates for affordable, quality health care from spreading the truth.
 And if we focus our energy on their myths, they win.

Of course, this
debate isn't just about facts and lies.  It's about people.  And the most
important thing in this debate is to keep real stories at the fore --- stories
of real Americans who are really suffering in our broken health care system and
who reform will really help.  And, really, that's all of us.  

But still,
we have to tell stories that illuminate the facts of reform. Insurance companies are spending $1.4 million a day to spread lies and stop reform so they can keep getting rich while giving us lousy health care. So here are FIVE
FACTS about health care reform that you need to help spread farther and wider
than the outrageous lies.  You can also download a printable version of this
list here
to hand out at town hall meetings or other events, nail
on your front door, share with family and co-workers or stick in bags at the
grocery store.  Unfortunately, the truth is often lonely.  It needs your help!



If you have private insurance you like, you will keep your insurance - and your costs will go down.[2] What's not to like?

When there's only one gas station in town, they can charge whatever they want and people have no choice but to pay.  When there's only a few insurance companies, they can charge whatever they want, too.  We have no other choice.  Competition is what drives down prices.  And health insurance reform, including a public health insurance option, will hold the insurance tycoons accountable and make them lower prices and out-of-pocket fees to compete.  



When insurance companies have a monopoly, they can deny your claims and deny you treatment and what can you do?  But if there's competition, you have another option.  That holds the insurance companies' feet to the fire.  Plus, health insurance reform will regulate the insurance companies so they can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and other technicalities.  The quality of all of our care will go up.[3]



When the insurance companies want to scare you, they talk about your mama.[4]   The truth is, health insurance reform will create more choices for patients of all ages - including senior citizens - and give them more power over their health care, not less.  Plus health care reform will make Medicare better, not by reducing benefits as you might have heard [5], but by cutting billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abusive overpayments to insurance giants.[6]  



Insurance company plants are saying that health care reform will make America more like Russia.  But isn't Russia the place where a few businesses and elites monopolize entire industries?  America is about choice and competition.  And health care reform will actually do away with some of the worst kinds of rationing, like canceling coverage for pre-existing conditions and lifetime and yearly limits on coverage.[7]



We're spending more than $2 trillion dollars per year on health care in America.[8]   The average family premium is projected to rise to over $22,000 in the next decade.[9]   Every year, nearly a million families face bankruptcy because of medical debt.[10]   Health care reform will drive down costs and save you money and be fully paid for over 10 years -- not adding a single penny to the deficit.[11]   Meanwhile, the cost of doing nothing is enormous and only growing.  


For more information, visit:



  1.   "Lobbyists Spend Millions to Influence Health Care," Dan Eggen, Washington Post online, July 21, 2009.
  2.   "Obama:  'If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Your Doctor'", Wall Street Journal blog, June 15, 2009.
  3.   "Why We Need a Public Health-Care Plan," Robert Reich, Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.
  4.   "No 'death panel' in health care bill," Associated Press, August 10, 2009.
  5.   "Obama: No reduced Medicare benefits in health care reform," CNN, July 28, 2009.
  6.   "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.
  7.   "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.
  8.   "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.
  9.   "Premiums Run Amok," Center for American Progress, July 24, 2009.
  10.   "Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies," CNN, June 5, 2009.
  11.   "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

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