More than words killed health reform

To the editor:In response to an article submitted by Dr. James W. Squires on health care (“Triumph of the words,” Jan. 29-Feb. 11 NHBR):According to Dr. Squires, the failure of health-care reform can be blamed on a few dishonest words used to mislead the public.The first word used in a dishonest way was rationing.The word did indeed get used repeatedly by people opposed to the Democrats’ version of health-care reform.The word rationing also got used by top executives from Obama’s own administration at the Office of Management and Budget, the nonpartisan government agency whose responsibility it is to cost out and analyze the impact of new legislation, which included a $500 billion cut in Medicare spending.They used the words “possible rationing” multiple times in their analysis of what impact the new legislation might have. Their descriptive phrase ”could lead to rationing of certain services particularly those for the elderly” seemed to be important and it stuck in people’s minds.The second dishonest words, according to Dr. Squires, were “death panel.” These words as well got used repeatedly by opponents and others. The term “death panel” was not invented by those in opposition to reform. They were in fact coined in Europe, the birthplace of socialized medicine. They correctly describe a group of people whose responsibility it is to review and approve the latest in heath care treatments and inventions. Disapproval by the panel for any treatment can for many, as the name implies, be a death sentence. Hence, the term death panel was born many years back and thousands of miles away from American shores.Europe has some of the worst survival rates in the world for many forms of cancer. This can be traced directly to the panels’ refusal to pay for many of the most modern (but expensive) treatments that extend life. The words “death panel” were appropriately used to describe what was being proposed.If a mere few words were all it took by opponents to take down the Democrats health-care agenda, then what does that say to the merit of the solutions being put forth?Democrats spewed misinformation and half-truths like water from a bubbling fountain, in an attempt to neutralize strong opposition. Campaign slogans and promises by Obama that he would usher in a new era of transparency in Washington were now being seen as bold-faced lies. Democrats had locked themselves behind massive doors cooking up the modern version of the Louisiana Purchase, the Corn Husker kickback and union give-aways.Does Dr. Squires honestly believe that health care, which represents 16 percent of this nation’s economy, can be reformed with the best interests of all Americans in mind by a bunch of zealot Democrats conniving, bribing and paying off senators for votes beyond the watchful eyes of the public without participation of Republicans who represent the interests and views of roughly half the Americans in this country?Heath care failed because it was just plain lousy legislation that lacked honesty at its core.Tony Boutin

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