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Fears fuel emotional health care protests

Posted by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 11:14 AM
  • 18 Replies

Story Highlights

  • People fear they'll have something taken away from them, Michael Cannon says
  • Obama promises those with coverage they like can keep it
  • Concerns coming up at town hall meetings echo sentiments from the campaign
  • Congress will have to "rethink the plan" after recess, Diana Owen says

(CNN)

-- Beyond the noise of raucous crowds and angry protesters who have turned town hall meetings into shouting matches is genuine concern from ordinary citizens who are afraid that President Obama's health care proposals would only make things harder for them, experts say.

The battle over health care reform has energized people on both sides of the debate. 
The battle over health care reform has energized people on both sides of the debate.

"The reason that we see these protests and people asking tough questions at town hall meetings is because they feel like the president is going to take something away from them. That motivates people. That gets them out," said Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Those fears were heard Tuesday at Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter's town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. "This is going to take away my freedom," charged one man who wanted assurance from Specter that the private option for health insurance would stay viable.

Specter repeated Obama's pledge, telling the crowd, "If you like your policy, you can keep it."

Acknowledging the skepticism at a town hall meeting Tuesday, Obama tried to alleviate fears that reform would take something away.

"I recognize there's an underlying fear here that people somehow won't get the care they need. You will have not only the care you need, but also the care that right now is being denied to you, only if we get health care reform. That's what we're fighting for," he said at the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, event.

Since his days on the campaign trail, Obama has promised the public that those who like their health insurance plans won't have to give them up, but he's stopped short of saying at what cost.

"I think that's the fear," said Diana Owen, an associate professor of political science and the director of American studies at Georgetown University. "Even though they are going to keep the plan, the plan is going to be at a much greater cost. And he's not been able to really allay that fear."

The themes coming up at town hall meetings across the country are broadly the same as doubts expressed during the campaign. Critics are voicing fears about socialism and the dismantling of the government they are used to. And those who have sufficient health care coverage worry they'll have to foot the bill for reform, echoing concerns heard during the presidential campaign that Obama would "spread the wealth around."

"That was one of the campaign critiques of Obama that seemed to work well, that seemed to resonate well," Owen said. "I really do think that it was an issue, and I think the opponents of the health care plan, by bringing that back up again ... I think that it could be an effective obstacle to what he's trying to accomplish."

Obama originally asked Congress to send him a health care bill before the August recess, but neither chamber met the deadline. As lawmakers spend the break in their home districts, they've been met with sometimes fierce opposition to Obama's proposals.

"It's not anti-reform -- it's anti-bad reform," Cannon said. "I think the public is reacting to what's in the legislation. And I think that's why the president wanted the House and the Senate to pass their versions before the August recess, because the president knew that the public would object to a lot of what is in these bills."

The White House, however, said that Obama "asked Congress to move quickly because we can't wait any longer to begin fixing what's wrong with our system."

Obama's health care battle has been compared to former President Clinton's failed effort more than 15 years ago, but lawmakers didn't experience the same backlash during the Clinton years.

Part of the reason was because of the calendar, CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said. Clinton proposed his plan in September 1993, and by the time Congress went on recess in August 1994, the plan was dead.

People also didn't use the Internet the way they use it today, "so you didn't have the viral communications that rally people to attend town halls," Schneider noted.

Today's hypersaturated media, where rumor is picked up as fact and disseminated to millions via blogs and discussion boards, has contributed to the misinformation being lobbed at lawmakers, Owen said.

Coming out of one of her town hall meetings Monday, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, said that "people are just getting information that's flat wrong." But as unfounded as some of the claims may be, such as charges that Obama will set up death panels to decide who will live or die, the emotional appeals resonate with the public.

"I don't think that this is debate that is going to go away," Owen said, noting that given the outpouring seen at the town hall meetings, Congress can't just pick up where it left off when it returns from break. "I think the public is going to remain engaged and energized."

Cannon said the debate has "stunted the president's momentum" and will make it harder for his administration to get through the types of reforms they were hoping for.

Cannon predicted that Obama's plan will fail, but advocates "are going to try more incremental reforms to improve the health care sector." The same thing happened after the Clinton plan failed. Congress passed less sweeping reform like the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Owen said the response to his proposals has likely been "a stark awakening to [Obama] about maybe on this particular issue, he's going to need a new tactic."

"When Congress comes back they'll have to kind of rethink the plan and rethink particularly how they present it to the public. and that means the Obama administration as well," she said.

Have you gone to a town hall meeting? What are your thoughts?

 





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by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 11:14 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Hallie360
by New Member on Aug. 12, 2009 at 12:13 PM


Quote:

People fear they'll have something taken away from them.


The only thing they might have taken away from them are high premiums, deductibles, and copays, along with the profit motive when it comes to deciding what needed healthcare services will be paid for. Right now, millions of insured Americans lose their homes and are forced into bankruptcy each year, because their insurance won't cover their health care expenses. Millions more go without needed health care each year, because they can't afford insurance, and nearly 25,000 Americans die every year, because they don't have medical insurance!

Medicare works. Just try taking it away from my 84-year-old mother, who recently suffered a stroke, and then had all of her hospital and other medical expenses covered. The government didn't step in and say "we won't pay for this test," or "this was due to a pre-existing condition," or "you need to go to your primary care doctor to get a referral for this specialist."

Medicare for all is the most cost-effective and compassionate health-care delivery system available. It is not socialized medicine. The government will not be providing health care. You still can choose your own health care provider, and in addition, have your prescriptions, vision care, and dental care paid for. But since all of the health care plans being debated in Congress right now only offer a public option, those Americans who choose to keep their insurance plans will be able to do so.

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq*, Iceland, Ireland, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the United Kingdom all have some kind of universal health care that covers all of their citizens. Even Afghanistan has it, and it's being paid for with U.S. war funding. All of these countries acknowledge that access to health care is a basic human right, not a privilege reserved only for those who can afford it.

It's time to take insurance companies out of the driver's seat when it comes to our health care. Every man, woman, and child in the U.S. is entitled to quality health care, and every patient is entitled to receive the treatment his or her doctor deems necessary without insurance companies standing in the way. Nothing in the way of quality health care would be taken away from any citizen, if we enact a health care system that includes a public option. If we are truly a compassionate people, let's support our legislators' efforts to provide health care to ALL of our people. The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.


PamR
by Ruby Member on Aug. 12, 2009 at 12:26 PM
These folks at the town halls are very vocal, but they are also a minority of the people in the country. Most people want some sort of healthcare reform. I think their fears are being fed by the extreme right-wing commentators. Some of what you hear the protesters say is just completely wrong - there are no provisions for forced abortion and death panels, and yet, you hear this at every one of these meetings.

Even the GOP is trying to get this disinformation corrected. It's fine to speak out and protest what you don't agree with, but this atmosphere of hostility is going to do nothing to help anyone.
tericared
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 12:28 PM


Quoting PamR:

These folks at the town halls are very vocal, but they are also a minority of the people in the country. Most people want some sort of healthcare reform. I think their fears are being fed by the extreme right-wing commentators. Some of what you hear the protesters say is just completely wrong - there are no provisions for forced abortion and death panels, and yet, you hear this at every one of these meetings.

Even the GOP is trying to get this disinformation corrected. It's fine to speak out and protest what you don't agree with, but this atmosphere of hostility is going to do nothing to help anyone.


this

ain-gell72
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 12:40 PM

if I understand correctly, all this talk isn't of just ONE plan, it is of several different plans being tossed around, correct? and each plan has something that not everyone is agreeing on, correct? and, isn't medicaid and medicare BOTH government run care plans? were they not the light at the end of a tunnel when thought up? and, what has happend to these programs? has anything good came out of them? sure, alot of people got coverage at no cost, but who did eventually pay for it and who is now paying for it, but the ones being covered by it now themselves. correct? and social sucurity is a government run plan, right? and how is that plan going?

bottom line, all three of these programs were brillant when thought up and implemented, but now are in the shitter. what makes anyone think a totally ran, public plan is going to work this time? what about this will be different than any other plan?

nothing, except this time no one has the money to pay for it! not even our government has the money to pay for this and I sure as hell don't have the money to pay for others coverage and my own that I wish to keep.

WImom2
by Silver Member on Aug. 12, 2009 at 12:43 PM


Quoting Hallie360:

 

Quote:

People fear they'll have something taken away from them.


The only thing they might have taken away from them are high premiums, deductibles, and copays, along with the profit motive when it comes to deciding what needed healthcare services will be paid for. Right now, millions of insured Americans lose their homes and are forced into bankruptcy each year, because their insurance won't cover their health care expenses. Millions more go without needed health care each year, because they can't afford insurance, and nearly 25,000 Americans die every year, because they don't have medical insurance!

Medicare works. Just try taking it away from my 84-year-old mother, who recently suffered a stroke, and then had all of her hospital and other medical expenses covered. The government didn't step in and say "we won't pay for this test," or "this was due to a pre-existing condition," or "you need to go to your primary care doctor to get a referral for this specialist."

Medicare for all is the most cost-effective and compassionate health-care delivery system available. It is not socialized medicine. The government will not be providing health care. You still can choose your own health care provider, and in addition, have your prescriptions, vision care, and dental care paid for. But since all of the health care plans being debated in Congress right now only offer a public option, those Americans who choose to keep their insurance plans will be able to do so.

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq*, Iceland, Ireland, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the United Kingdom all have some kind of universal health care that covers all of their citizens. Even Afghanistan has it, and it's being paid for with U.S. war funding. All of these countries acknowledge that access to health care is a basic human right, not a privilege reserved only for those who can afford it.

It's time to take insurance companies out of the driver's seat when it comes to our health care. Every man, woman, and child in the U.S. is entitled to quality health care, and every patient is entitled to receive the treatment his or her doctor deems necessary without insurance companies standing in the way. Nothing in the way of quality health care would be taken away from any citizen, if we enact a health care system that includes a public option. If we are truly a compassionate people, let's support our legislators' efforts to provide health care to ALL of our people. The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.

 

Really? The only thing huh? So I suppose those high taxes assessed to everyone in order to pay for this wonderful new health care will not be looked upon as something being taken away? Or the small business forced to close their doors and lay hard working people off- will they feel no loss? Or the business' that will be forced to raise prices, which will snowball, everyone loses there. What about the doctors and other health care providers who will take a large hit in pay- think their care will not reflect that? Of course there will be those who open private practices and refuse this new "health care", that would be private pay of course. Leading to a shortage of doctors providing care under this new "reform", leading to longer wait times and decreased availability of care. That effects everyone. What about the employees who work for these insurance companies? They will all be effected, many will end up on the unemployment line. Further burdening the unemployment benefits and thus in the long run raising taxes on all of us yet again.


 

athenax3
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Fear is a natural by product of change- of the unfamiliar. It can't be helped or curbed or stopped> look at any major sociological shifts in our history, they are surrounded with war, protests, violent outbursts, extremist views being spewed at every opportunity- because change scares people, some more than others- and that fear leaves people susceptible to any number of suggestions, people tend to leap when frightened to cling to anything that shares or condones or explains their fear-there are certain factions that leap on social shifts to recruit members like cults, religious organzations, fringe political parties, etc.and during times like this they are successful.

I suspect, no matter how well or poorly the change goes, most of the suffering is done during the decision making process- I wouldn't go to a political rally or open floor assembly right now if you paid me, I've attended only one, and frankly the wing nuts scared the living hell out of me- they are vocal, intimidating and full up to thier eyeballs in batshit crazy- I've never wanted out of a room so badly in my life, lol the idea that they were probably armed as well (thanks to the other post) makes me shudder....all that fear, all that hate, anger, distrust, bottled up, packaged tight and armed...lovely....

Anyway- there's no stopping the fear, there's blood in the water, and the sharks know it.


ain-gell72
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:00 PM

I believe the fear is there b/c of the failed attempts at this kind of reform in the past.

I agree tho, you wouldn't catch me at a rally either! I am all for protecting my country and my speech but I am comfy enough doing from here and on my couch! lol

Quoting athenax3:

Fear is a natural by product of change- of the unfamiliar. It can't be helped or curbed or stopped> look at any major sociological shifts in our history, they are surrounded with war, protests, violent outbursts, extremist views being spewed at every opportunity- because change scares people, some more than others- and that fear leaves people susceptible to any number of suggestions, people tend to leap when frightened to cling to anything that shares or condones or explains their fear-there are certain factions that leap on social shifts to recruit members like cults, religious organzations, fringe political parties, etc.and during times like this they are successful.

I suspect, no matter how well or poorly the change goes, most of the suffering is done during the decision making process- I wouldn't go to a political rally or open floor assembly right now if you paid me, I've attended only one, and frankly the wing nuts scared the living hell out of me- they are vocal, intimidating and full up to thier eyeballs in batshit crazy- I've never wanted out of a room so badly in my life, lol the idea that they were probably armed as well (thanks to the other post) makes me shudder....all that fear, all that hate, anger, distrust, bottled up, packaged tight and armed...lovely....

Anyway- there's no stopping the fear, there's blood in the water, and the sharks know it.


iluvmommyhood58
by Bronze Member on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:52 PM
Quoting Cafe GroupAdmin:

Since his days on the campaign trail, Obama has promised the public that those who like their health insurance plans won't have to give them up, but he's stopped short of saying at what cost.





Can we just stop for a second and remember that this is a politician. TECHNICALLY what he says might be true (might not be) but he's probably not pointing out any of the fine print.

Just wanted to put in my little two cents there...
Scorpio359
by on Aug. 12, 2009 at 1:57 PM


Quoting PamR:

These folks at the town halls are very vocal, but they are also a minority of the people in the country. Most people want some sort of healthcare reform. I think their fears are being fed by the extreme right-wing commentators. Some of what you hear the protesters say is just completely wrong - there are no provisions for forced abortion and death panels, and yet, you hear this at every one of these meetings.

Even the GOP is trying to get this disinformation corrected. It's fine to speak out and protest what you don't agree with, but this atmosphere of hostility is going to do nothing to help anyone.

You are wrong. The tide is turning and more and more people are turning away from Obama's healthcare bill. They are beginning to see the dishonesty of this administration and they are afraid of his Gestapo tactics. Approval rating is 42%.

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Aug. 12, 2009 at 4:59 PM

...more on teabaggin' douchebaggery.  <sigh>



"I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit."

                                         

                                                             

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