Your 10-year-old comes crashing through the door with a story of being chased home from school by a pack of wild dogs. Do you:
• Grab a shotgun and your copy of Old Yeller
• Call 911
• Pour a glass of milk, hand him a cookie, and return to whatever you were doing
All of the parents out there smiled and chose option #3.
However, if you child would have burst through the door and said that a dog had chased him home, you would have gone to the door fully expecting to see a neighbor’s German shepherd, collie, or great Dane.
My favorite 10-year-olds are Drs. Arthur Lavin and Michael Devereaux, the co-chairmen of a local lobbying group, Doctors for Health Care Solutions. Longtime readers of this blog remember this group as the stage props who show up with their white lab coats whenever a politician endorses the president’s health care plan.
Doctors Lavin and Devereaux, along with their own pack of wild dogs, surfaced again in last Sunday's Plain Dealer. Appearing, fittingly, on page 3 of the Forum (opinion) Section, they weaved a fact-less tale of illness, greed and desperation.
It is tempting to disassemble their article one line at a time. Several clients, one a young woman with a serious insurance issue and a far more serious health problem, have already participated in this exercise. I will try to keep this down to only a few of the obvious flaws.
The plot: A 45-year-old healthy female, a middle class Greater Clevelander with a good job and “excellent health insurance,” suddenly comes down with multiple sclerosis. Her insurance company drops her. Without insurance, her doctor the alleged hero of this story, drops her. Bills pile up. Treatments fail to keep her healthy enough to work. She loses her job and ends up on Medicaid. Now the government spends $40,000 a year for the doctors to treat her.
WOW! It is too gruesome to imagine. It’s like a pack of wild dogs chasing a 10-year-old home from school.
She lost her insurance? How? You cannot be cancelled by your insurance company due to a health condition. Was this “excellent health insurance” from her employer? How did she lose the coverage BEFORE she lost her job?
The article is filled with random falsehoods and exaggerations. At one point our creative doctors claim that women pay roughly double the price of men. The key is the word roughly as in 6-foot-3. I am roughly 10 feet tall. I will be happy to bore you with the specific rates of where women are more expensive than men and where men are more expensive than women upon request.
The truth is stretched beyond recognition when the doctors deal with the number of uninsureds, the difficulty in acquiring insurance, and the benefits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Why does this matter? Even the most casual, neutral observer will see this for what it is, propaganda. And that is the problem. Most of what we are seeing is either hysteria from the left, like this, or hysteria from the right that would lead you to believe that the sick are dying on the streets in Canada. It is all so extreme and so unlikely that we start to ignore everything. It is understandable to scream “plague upon both your houses," but the health care system affects all of us. We ignore this mess at our own peril.
There are real problems with the status quo. There are people falling through the cracks. Doing nothing solves nothing. Unfortunately, the PPACA does not adequately address many of these issues. But we will never get anything done if we are spending all of time fleeing from packs of wild dogs.