The ‘death panel’ tactic by opponents of healthcare reform was offensive and a scare tactic. It was a manipulation of proposed legislation and an absurdity to believe that legislators and the President of this country would be involved in a diabolical plot to pull the plug on our older citizens. However, if that is the way some opponents of healthcare reform want to fight, let’s give them a ‘dose of their own medicine’. My son, Kelly, and I discussed this matter the other evening and concluded, as have others, that the tables are too easily turned.
The Odds of Developing Serious Life-Threatening Illness Increase As We Get Older
Most people are aware of this. As but one example, the odds of developing cancer increase the older we get.
Age is a Factor in Raising Health Insurance Premiums
As one gets older health insurance premiums get more expensive. For example, between ages 55 and 60 my premium (I am self-employed) has increased 150% to keep the same level of benefits. Not all can afford this. Such increases in cost can force individuals to reduce benefits or even price them out of the market when they need health insurance the most. Additionally, individuals who have serious pre-existing conditions can be denied coverage or be priced out as well.
Lack of Health Insurance is Claiming 45,000 Lives a Year in the US.
The recent study published out of Harvard Medical School shows that in our country 45,000 lives/year (one every 12 minutes) is lost because of lack of health insurance. The loss of life from lack of health insurance is greater than that from drunk driving and homicide combined. American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40% higher risk of death than those who have coverage.
So if opponents of healthcare reform want to discuss Death Panels, do not they not already exist in the insurance companies where decisions are made to deny coverage to those with serious pre-existing conditions? Or where decisions are made to raise premiums as our citizens age that can price them out of the market or cause them to reduce benefits when they need health insurance the most? Are they not in essence ‘pulling the plug’ on some of our citizens as they get older, even resulting in loss of life in some cases?
So, Mrs. Palin and others who have been involved with the ‘Death Panel’ tactic, be careful how you fight. Your own tactics can be turned on you. Why would we not want an option for those citizens whose lives are being endangered because they have become a profit risk to an industry?