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The curse of the chain letter

The wages of not forwarding the chain letter
The wages of not forwarding the chain letter
photo courtesy of google

Among the spam floating into your computer’s in-box is a chain letter attacking the Affordable Care act. It makes some damning and quite specific charges in opposition to the law. This particular chain letter allegedly originated from an analysis done by a Texas Judge. Or it was started by a blogger or that it was started by a conservative Senator from Indiana. No one who really knows is talking.

The letter is quite specific and cites the page and line number on that page where offending passages can be found. Many of the claims are pretty scary. They are especially scary for senior citizens.

“Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise. At least 20 if you can. It has to stop somewhere. In three days, most people in The United States of America will have this message. This is one idea that really should be passed around”

Can these terrible claims possibly be true? They are alarming enough to check them out with the Health and Human Services Department of the Federal government. Media Relations Director Aaron Albright of the Centers for Medicare Services was kind enough to reply. In essence, he offered references from non-partisan sources and said (in Washington speak) “Bull-Pucky” to the chain letter
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The “letter,” as far as anyone can tell, originated in 2009. This is relevant because the final version of the Affordable Care Act did not pass the Congress until 2010. So even if the letter was correct in its substance, all the specific references are wrong because the proposal from which it was written never became law and all the references were changed. The judge, a Texas Magistrate named David Kithil has disavowed it. He now says he wishes he had never gotten involved. Judge Kithil was a county judge from Marble Falls Texas. The judge is no longer sitting on the bench.

"I wish it would die. I can't control it," David Kithil told PolitiFact Oregon. "I don't know how something like that goes viral like that.”

The letter (which has passed through many hands) claims that Cancer coverage will denied to all those over 75. The truth, according to the non-partisan organization PolitiFact, is there is no rationing of any kind mentioned in the final bill.

The bottom line is that many thinking citizens have serious problems with the Obama administration and what it believes is its good works. This chain letter is designed to add fuel to that inferno. It is not true in any aspect.
Unfortunately, too many conservative voters have become victims of their own representatives. They have drunk the Kool-Aid. And it swallowed it. Many of the negative claims repeatedly shouted at voters are just not true. PolitiFact rates these particular claims a “Pants on Fire.”

Before accepting extreme statements as gospel, Kansas and Missouri voters owe it to themselves to check for the truth of the statements. They should vote their consciences based on what they learn and voice their disapproval of folks who are attempting to manipulate them with fear tactics.

For those who want to see the real facts about healthcare in other countries, the place to look is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Or the Commonwealth Fund annual evaluations. A chart book which shows comparisons of specific kinds of care is also available

The health care law does have significant deficiencies, but instead of complaining about those; voters should take a fresh look. See what kind of service is being provided and how it might be improved. Let’s look at what what’s best for the people rather than for the folks who profit through promoting their own special interests.

Goal: All Americans deserve health care outcomes on a par with other advanced countries. And America should pay a similar percentage of everything it earns to its health care professionals. It should be similar to that paid in other advanced, similar nations.

Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, does not accomplish the proposal, but it is a step in that direction. Perhaps we need to instruct our representatives to look out for the common good and move forward rather than simply posture for political advantage. A national election will be held in November.

PolitiFact.com is a project operated by the Tampa Bay Times, in which reporters and editors from the Times and affiliated media outlets "fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups." They publish original statements and their evaluations on the PolitiFact.com website, and assign each a "Truth-O-Meter" rating. The ratings range from "True" for completely accurate statements to "Pants on Fire" (from the taunt "Liar, liar, pants on fire") for false and ridiculous claims. There are several other similar organizations. On this issue, all generally agree.