Skeptic Project

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Barack Obama - Obamacare

Author: Edward L Winston
Added: August 1st, 2009

Since Obama promised to have a public option for health care the far right has been going off the wall about it. Most people have decent objections about cost, taxes, and so forth - but a decent minority have gone completely bonkers. Naturally when an idea isn't liked by a given section of the population, people will began to embellish, spin, or simply lie about what's really going on. In this article I want to examine some of the more crazy claims about "Obamacare" - I won't get into the economics of it all, I'll leave that up to MSNBC and Fox News to hammer out ;-)

Table of Contents

  1. Death Panels
  2. Cash for Clunkers
  3. Jesus and Healthcare
  4. Stephen Hawking

Death Panels

Obamacare will create death panels for end-of-life patients or all patients.

Simply not true. This originates from a the typical fear mongering we see from politicians in general. To save myself some time, I will include Obama's explanation of what the provisions really mean. Also, here's a link to the actual bill:

The rumor that's been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for "death panels" that will basically pull the plug on grandma ... this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, et cetera. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they're ready, on their own terms. It wasn't forcing anybody to do anything. This is I guess where the rumor came from[30].

Cash for Clunkers

Cash for Clunkers or "Clonkers" as some jackasses say, is (or was, depending on when you're reading this) a rebate program for buying new cars and turning in old crappy ones.

The overwhelming success of the program has caused many opponents of Obamacare to state that:

"Cash for Clunkers proves that the government can't do anything correctly, because it keeps failing."

The problem with this logic is that only a certain amount of money ($1 billion) was allocated for Cash for Clunkers, and the government (and most other people) underestimated the popularity of the program initially[31]. The seriousness of Cash for Clunkers also doesn't compare to the seriousness of healthcare reform.

I'm not really sure how to put it into words other than the comparison is pompous, arrogant, and stupid.

Jesus and Healthcare

If you thought Jesus wasn't going to get involved, you're crazy. Many of those who oppose healthcare reform and are also hostilely religious attempt to reconcile these two philosophies, here's an example of that:

How about thou shall not covet thy neighbors' wealth to pay for your health care.

I guess Jesus demanded a co-pay prior to healing the sick. I bet Lazarus had one steep bill.

I don't really have any sources or anything to include here, I just thought it was so hilariously ironic it had to be included.

Stephen Hawking

Many individuals against the public healthcare option bring up England or France as examples of why it doesn't work. Interestingly, I've never seen (as of reading this) anyone say the German or Japanese health systems were suffering and were massively subpar.

A popular quote from Investor's Business Daily states:

"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."[32]

Yes, the article does indeed state Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK. In case you're wondering, Hawking had this to say in response to the editorial above:

"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS," he told us. "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."[33]