Humanist Thought of the Week: 4 6 2010
Our Shared Humanity
Regardless of what you think of his politics, President Obama’s best speeches are pure Humanism.
Here are the highlights of his Easter Day message.
Today – I was involved in a bit of a debate on facebook about the Health Care Reform Bill currently making its way through Congress. One of my facebook friends, a Humanist, has concerns about the bill. She is obviously from the libertarian wing of the Humanist movement. A lot of Humanists are libertarians. Just as many are progressive and liberal. And occasionally, you get a true conservative, but they are rather rare. Anyway – when she stated “nobody should be even implying that our 65+ should be opting out of treatment to reduce expenses on the rest of the population!” and that “none of them deserved to have "REQUIRED" end of life couseling.” I was a bit concerned that she had fallen prey to some right wing fear mongering. After all – NO ONE would be for rationing care for our elderly or encouraging them to die to save the rest of us money. You would have to be evil or insane to even suggest it. So I asked her to provide the citations of which exact sections of the bill stated that elderly people would be encouraged to kill themselves or that their care would be rationed. She provided several citations (but did not provide any that spoke to her concerns about the elderly). I then went online and looked at the bill myself (available at www.thomas.gov front page link). What I found was that very few of her concerns had any basis in fact. There were no citations that address elder care at all. And while a few of her concerns had some grain of truth in them, most of those were taken out of context. In short, there was only one concern that was based in fact but it was not nearly as scary as she had made it out to be when I read the offending section for myself (Sec 401.59B). In other words, I couldn’t find any of the horrible things she was concerned about in this bill. I decided to list all her concerns verbatim and what I found when I actually looked at the bill as I thought it might help others trying to make sense of this debate. I have labelled her concerns Myths because, to me, they did not stand up as true upon reading the actual bill. The Facts listed are my responses verbatim (with the exception of the occasional parathesis – which I added here. To provide some clarity – I am only listing my opinions as facts because – that was the format this fell into. What they really are is my interpretation of what the bill says – and I encourage you to read the actual text for yourself). And again – she did not provide any citations that included rationing care for the elderly or mandated end of life counseling – so at the moment – I am going to assume this bill does not contain anything remotely similar to that and will label that as a myth as well. And by the way – I was reviewing HR 3200.