Response to the open letter from Dr. Stephen Fraser to Sen. Evan Bayh
Another of my friends, Gary Aguilar, has given me permission to share another rebuttal response to more propaganda. A letter has been circulated, ostensibly from "Dr. Stephen Fraser." Gary offers this point-by-point rebuttal, with links. Enjoy, and circulate broadly!
Dear Merk et al,Thanks, Gary, for being such a true patriot. (Gary was so Republican in his youth he was a member of the John Birch Society. People really can, and sometimes do, change.)
I read with interest the first pdf attachment you sent, "HealthCareLtr09.pdf." Then I googled up the on-line bill it was criticizing to check the validity of the assertions of the self-described "patriotic American," "Dr. Stephen Fraser," in his letter to Sen. Bayh. So are "Dr. Fraser's" criticisms valid?
No, they're not..
Let's take them, one by one.
#1. "Dr. Fraser" says, "Page 22 of the HC Bill: Mandates that the Govt will audit books of all employers that self insure!!" (sic).
Go to the bill itself, at: http://docs.house.gov/edlabor/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf. There, you'll find it says no such thing. What it does say on the pages circa 22 is that the govt. will inspect entities that "self insure" to determine whether they're financially solvent. It makes sense for the feds to check, too. For if an employer opts out of any and all plans, saying it will cover all its employee health care costs itself, but lacks the wherewithal to do so, workers may be harmed. So it's not unreasonable for the govt., and workers, to know beforehand.
#2 "Dr. Fraser" says: "Page 30, Sec 123 of HC bill - THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get." (sic).
What page 30 actually says is that a Health Benefits Advisory Committee will be established to "recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced and premium plans." This is standard practice.. Such committees determine coverage in all private plans now. The idea being that just because you'd like Blue Cross or Medicare to pay for your cosmetic surgery isn't sufficient reason for it/them to do so. [I know from my own experience that patients often have unreasonable expectation of what insurers should cover.]
How about the business of that "GOVT COMMITTEE?" The bill says there will be no more than 27 members, all appointed, except for the Surgeon General. Of the 27, 18 will be picked from the outside - that is, they can't be either federal employees or officers. The other 8 will be federal employees/officers who are appointed by the President. Among the non-feds, MUST BE physician providers and representatives of labor and consumer groups, etc. These representatives are far more inclusive of the medically needy public than the panels used by private insurance companies are today.
# 3. "Dr. Fraser" says, "Page 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill: YOU HEALTH CARE IS RATIONED!
Check page 29 and it says no such thing.
But if rationing is such a bad thing, why do we allow it here in America already? I donate time at San Francisco General where care for the poor is already quite rationed in that the wait lists for services are far, far longer than they are for the poor in virtually all other First World countries. The wait lists in Canada, which is often criticized, is often no longer than wait lists here for private patients. Perhaps not for MRI scans, for which patients may wait in Canada a little longer, but surgical wait times are not much different. (The next available slot on my private surgery schedule is in about a month.)
And America is the ONLY first world country in which its own doctors go on medical missions to serve the poor - WITHIN THE BORDER OF THEIR OWN COUNTRY! "60 Minutes" did a great expose of this - poor American folk - many of them white and apparently most U.S. citizens - assembling before dawn in remote locations to get health care they can't afford.
#4. "Dr. Fraser" says: "Page 42 of HS Bill: The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC Benefits for you. You have no choice!"
Nothing of the sort appears anywhere on page 42. Nor, from what I've heard from my AMA rep, is such a policy written anywhere in the bill. All insurers determine what benefits they'll cover under the plan, and many private insurers immorally change the rules after the fact these days, bankrupting policy holders who undergo treatment that they arbitrarily decide they won't cover.
The #1 cause of personal bankruptcy in America is unaffordable health care costs, usually after unexpected, costly illnesses. This situation exists NOWHERE else in the world. Nowhere.
#5. "Dr. Fraser" says: "Page 50 Section 152 in the HC bill: HC will be provided to ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise."
You won't find that anywhere on page 50.
There are 4 more attachments which I won't review because I have no more reason to suppose they'll be any more credible than I have to believe Sarah Palin's imbecilities - boosted by the John Birch Society (in the "New American") - about Obama's plans for "death panels."
I have no idea who this "Dr. Fraser" is. But I'd bet that, if he really exists at all and isn't instead just a phony shill for some wealthy conservative, Republican PR machine, he's probably been fed these lies and is just passing them along to others to accomplish what the right wing ALWAYS tries to do: Scare the Shit out of people. Well, shame on "Dr. Fraser!" The obvious goal here it to keep the money pouring into the coffers of the often corrupt, unethical and immoral insurance companies and hospital corporations.
The McClatchy news outlet - which was the ONLY mainstream U.S. news outlet (known then as Knight Ridder) to really warn its readers BEFORE the Iraq War that Bush & Co. were greatly exaggerating the threat Saddam posed - just put out a fascinating piece detailing who's behind the "Dr. Frasers" of the world. It's entitled, "Who's behind the attacks on a health care overhaul?" http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/73765.html?story_link=email_msg
As usual, it's conservative, Republican, right-wing liars and manipulators, among them the notorious Rick Scott, Scott, for anyone who cares to check, "left his job as CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospitals during a federal Medicare fraud probe in 1997 that led to a historic $1.7 billion settlement." So the captain of the "Fraud Ship Columbia/HCA" that bilked America of even more than the $1.7 billion they settled for - Rick Scott - is Mary Mark et al's ally in this "freedom fight."
And people wonder why conservative Republicans can't get no respect!
I welcome rejoinders. Perhaps someone will read through all the other attachments and find that, somewhere, he's finally found something worth bitching about. If so, I'd love to hear it!