Tahlequah Daily Press

October 4, 2013

Stop ‘Obamacare’ scare tactics

Readers' Forum

TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:

I am upset and confused over all the so-called “conservative” attacks on the Affordable Health Care Act, which, by the way, is the law of the land and has been reviewed and approved by the Supreme Court.

All I read in the papers, hear on the radio, and see on TV are the outright lies being told about the facts of the legislation. My basic question is “Why is anyone opposed to better access to health care?” And, adding insult to injury, most that are attacking, have full access to employer paid insurance in the first place; and, of course those cowards in Congress whose health care we pay.  

First, it is an affront to call it “ObamaCare” because his name is nowhere in the authorizing legislation. I challenge any of the detractors to find it. Do we call Medicare “JohnsonCare?” Or, BushCare as Medicare was greatly expanded under his administration. Am I the only one who remembers the attacks then as a “government take-over” of the health care system then? Did that happen?  (By the way, the answer is NO, for those who cannot figure it out.) The act creates a private sector insurance market place. How is that a government take-over? And, witness now the systems are overloaded with applicants.

And, the classic news clip was the cowardly “Tea Party” folks howling against the AHCA while at the same time yelling “Leave my Medicare alone!” How hypocritical is that?

As a side note, if those in the so-called “Tea Party” are so brave, why do they not start a real political party instead of masquerading as Republicans? Oh yeah, now I remember, their name comes from another bunch of chickens who dressed up as American Indians and threw tea off a boat in Boston. Seems us Indians have been getting a bad rap in the news media ever since that time.

A couple of points need to be made. First, as to government provided/managed health care, I will put the quality of and access to health care at Hastings Indian Hospital up against that of any other health care facility in the world.

The dedication of the staff and medical professionals is not exceeded anywhere. So, my vote is with those whose mission in life is to take care of patients rather than those whose sole motivation is the profit motive.

Second, one might ask, what tends to lead to my support of the legislation? It is my honor to serve on a number of peer review panels for multiple federal agencies. A peer review panel is comprised of people from all over the United States who are familiar with appropriate governmental services. ... Rest assured, the “stipend” we receive is minimal compared to the total training, reading, scoring and reporting requirements. I do it as a public service.

... And, most important, last spring it was my distinct honor to serve as chairman of one of the first national panels to review and recommend funding to entities who proposed projects under the Health Care Innovations Challenge.

The purpose was threefold: increase access to health care; reduce costs; and, improve the third party billing systems. The panel was comprised of experts from across the country, all of whom are dedicated health care providers in some very large systems.

Applications were from urban and rural health care providers (like the NEO Health out of Hulbert), major research and health care hospitals, and private insurance companies. The quality of the proposals followed that listing. The best proposals were from those providing direct services, not attempting to intercede and make a profit.

So, please stop the “Obamacare” scare tactics and look at the facts at hand. I challenge and invite everyone to read the act and then decide the cost and benefits compared to the current marketplace.

Charles A. Gourd, Ph.D.