Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Proud of My Peeps Again

My church folks do know how to write letters. Here is a good one in the Bristol Herald Courier from (yes this is her real name) Judy Garland, who has been a champion for health care justice:

Death panel talk just a distraction

Nothing constructive has come from those months during the healthcare debate when the airways were saturated with embarrassing nonsense about death panels and killing granny. It’s hurtful, extreme language which doesn’t merit reviving.

How could it not be a beneficial, compassionate change to allow Medicare to compensate doctors or approved counselors who use their wisdom and expertise to counsel dying patients and their families who request their help with end-of-life concerns? There has to be some ulterior motivation, certainly beyond my understanding, for anyone to characterize such a service as a provision for death panels.

A recent contributor to this column (Cox, Dec. 27) chose to do just that. He also attributed such views to the tea party and encouraged readers to support tea party candidates to replace a currently serving senator who supports the new healthcare law.

That won’t do for me. Rational analysis might not offer false drama or the exciting pulse of righteous fervor, but it will help us be better people and make better choices and take care of each other. Fifty million Americans cannot afford access to medical care or are excluded by the insurance company’s death panels. That’s fully one-sixth of us, and that’s obscene. The cost of healthcare in our nation is double that of any other industrialized nation and we rank 38thworldwide in medical outcomes, like how long we live and other such important stuff.

I don’t understand the need to try to distract us from that, with foolish talk of financial, non-existent death panels when, yearly, tens of thousands of our countrymen already suffer, even die, from lack of care. The insurance industry imposes its own cruel brand of death panels that scream for our attention.

Judy Garland
Johnson City, Tenn.