‘Read the bill,’ advises Blue Dog congressman

During the August recess, some Democratic congressmen are hearing testy opinions from the public over your party’s proposals for healthcare reform. Are those concerns justified?

Certainly the concerns are justified. Now, if a person is willing to speak to me in a civil tone, and talk about concerns they genuinely have, I want to hear from them.

What I’m not interested in, and what I don’t appreciate, is when the other party is busing people to try to be disruptive. That’s what’s unnecessary. We’re trying to help the situation.

Are there any misconceptions about the Democrats’ healthcare plan that need to be corrected?

There a lot of myths out there being spread by those who enjoy spreading falsehoods. I would urge people to go to the Web site and look at the bill. Just because someone sends you something on the Internet, that doesn’t mean that it’s true.

This is only a proposed bill. There are about 10 steps before a bill will ever get to the President’s desk for his signature.

Can you describe what you refer to as “myths” that are being circulated?

I don’t want to get off into the weeds, but (citing an example) that they’re trying to euthanize the elderly. That’s ridiculous. I’m amazed, honestly, that people would fall into a trap and believe that stuff. Please look at the bill. Do not believe mess that people send across the Internet with nothing to back it up.

Do you think some people are using the bill’s description of “end-of-life” issues to reach that conclusion? The Blue Dogs, in your own proposal, also refer to “end-of-life” issues. Maybe that definition deserves further explanation.

Well, it probably does. But here’s the thing: we think the patients should be involved and know what their options are. We just think a patient deserves to know what their options are in their end-of-life care and, quite frankly, doctors are not compensated to sit down and answer questions right now. And they should be.

A doctor’s time and advice are his stock in trade as well, and we think that should be an allowable charge for a physician to sit down with a person when the end of life is near.

Getting back on track about “myths” being spread, can you cite any misinformation put out by the Republicans, or conservative talk radio, that deserves to be refuted?

I’m not going to address those. You know what those are. You’re an educated person. You know what every one of them are. I’m not going to address that.

The Panolian