Civil Health Care Debate, We Hardly Knew Ye…

When I started as a law clerk for the Health Care Program at Nebraska Appleseed, I saw the summer as an opportunity to delve into what was sure to be an interesting, if somewhat technical, debate over health care reform.  I did not expect those outside of the health care or political fields to become particularly engaged in the issue, but on that point I have clearly been proven wrong.  Over the course of the summer, I have witnessed debates, rallies, town halls, and almost daily letters to the editor through which the general public, both those supporting and opposing health care reform, has demonstrated their engagement in the process.

I appreciate the level of public involvement in health care reform because it is an issue integral to each of our lives.  The more I study the proposed reforms, the more I recognize that changes to the health care industry are, hopefully, going to be fundamental enough to benefit every American.  While it may be obvious that those who currently lack health care coverage will benefit from reform, it is equally true that middle class Americans who find themselves inadequately insured or saddled with exorbitant premiums will benefit from reforms that lower costs and create quality, stable health care.  Everyone has a stake in the proposed changes to our health care system, and everyone should have the opportunity to become involved in the debate.

The problem we are seeing today is that the once civil discourse has become increasingly dishonest and riddled with disruption.  In an effort to resuscitate an intelligent debate, many organizations have compiled data debunking common health care reform myths.  As these myths are perpetuated, it becomes increasingly critical for reform supporters to be actively involved in countering them with the real facts.

Health care reform is indeed a huge endeavor.  As such, it requires an honest and intelligent debate, with those on both sides of the issue allowed to question how it will affect them.  I encourage everyone to participate in this discourse, but I hope they will do so only after becoming informed about the proposed health care reforms.  It would be a great shame if this incredible opportunity were derailed due to scare tactics, irrelevant disruptions, and misinformation.

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