Monday, September 12, 2011

Speak the Truth

Opposing the implementation of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, has become the touchstone of the Republican party. They resist any progress to implement this act  that will provide health insurance to over 25 million Americans, who until it is fully enacted, have no health insurance and therefore no access to care.  American citizens who have no insurance have no doctor and therefore receive no care. I have witnessed this over and over again as a volunteering physician at  eight free medical clinics staged across the country and it has been confirmed in the Commonwealth Fund's latest biennial health insurance survey. But facts as these do not deter New York state senator Gregory R Ball from opposing this legislature as his 'Republican duty'. Could we ask what is his duty to the citizens of New York state whose welfare he is pledged to uphold? 

The candidates who seek the presidency of our country boast that this bill is harmful and a step toward a socialist state. The governor of Texas, Mr Rick Perry, shows no shame that his state has the greatest percent of his citizens without health insurance and therefore without access to care. He claims “Well, I’ll tell you what the people in the state of Texas don’t want: They don’t want a health care plan like what Governor Romney put in place in Massachusetts. What they would like to see is the federal government get out of their business.” 

As a physician who has practiced primary care for nearly 40 years, I have never once had a patient complain in any way about Medicare or show any interest in surrendering their Medicare card. Could the Texas governor please tell the truth? Would those who moderate these 'debates' please challenge him and his fellow Republicans to tell the truth about health care in this country? Would they please challenge these would be presidents what evidence they could possibly show that the Affordable Care Act will lead to death panels?  They have it so backwards. Our health system has death panels now. They can be seen among all those without health insurance.  I also have been a participating physician in Massachusetts health reform and have witnessed time and time again the enormous benefits that it provides its citizens. The medical services I have been able to provide to patients with Massachusetts' health insurance, have allowed many to regain self respect, return to meaningful work, and become tax payers.

What does it say about our country when we allow politicians to promote un-truths and use these lies as stepping stones to higher office? What does it say about us as a community when we do not provide health insurance to all of our citizens while allowing those who earn millions of dollars each year to pay little or no tax?

Speak out to falsehood.

Ralph Freidin, MD
Sept 2011

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