09/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Truth and Fiction in Health Care

Americans overwhelmingly voted for change in the November election. Seems a few of us didn't get the memo, but it's not too late to get on board the train in the debate for realizing true health care reform that puts people before profits and checks special interests at the on ramp to the beltway in Washington.

We have a chance to have a positive impact on this country's health care system for generations if we keep obstructionist from spreading fiction about what health care reform is or isn't. In the latest CNN Poll three quarters of Americans believe we need major structural change to our health care system and when they hear details, are even more in favor of reform.

Rumors that health care reform will eliminate the existing coverage you have are completely false. If I am satisfied with my doctor and the insurance I have, then I get to keep them both under this plan, but I would also have the choice to change plans if I wish. And with a public option, I know my private insurance company will keep my premiums down to compete.

Though far from a done deal or from perfection (in fact I can list a litany of problems with what's being negotiated in the Senate Finance Committee), there are lots of provisions in the health care reform bill under consideration that we need and can cheer about.

Congress has a plan to eliminate co-pays and deductibles for preventive care like routine check ups and physical exams. No longer will people like Willie Green of Cottonwood Point, Missouri face a rate increase for treatment for her chronic pain and numbness due to a stroke she experienced while giving childbirth, or for just being a woman. What's more, no one will have to worry about whether they will be denied insurance because they have a pre-existing condition.

For too long our health care system has been in the grips of private insurance companies, who with the benefit of monopolies in states like North Carolina, can charge astronomical premiums that are simply out of financial reach for so many families. Under the new plan Congress is considering, the amount of money families must pay out-of -pocket will be limited to a set dollar amount. Additionally, insurance companies will no longer be able to set a limit on the amount it will pay over an individual's lifetime for insurance coverage.

The truth is -- the insurance industry will do whatever it takes to distort the facts and protect their profits while spending $1.4 million everyday to kill insurance reform. If only they were spending that much money to heal patients we would really be in the business of fixing healthcare. The American public must be equally committed to winning health care reform.

The truth is -- it's always easier to criticize and tear down progress than it is to offer solutions. And what America needs right now are solutions, not an extreme right fringe of few who are intent on framing this debate with lies. The opponents of reform want to continue to push for the status quo. Being progressive requires a different mindset and a vision of what is so is not what has to be. And we care for the health and wholeness of our collective communities.

Finally, the truth is-- a public insurance option is the only way for the American people to realize true health care reform. No one will win if we do not pass health reform that will provide quality, affordable health care for everyone.

We've dragged our feet long enough. It's time to get it done and that, too, is the truth.