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Corso: Like MLK’s march, health care victory overcomes old lies

POSTED: March 28, 2010 12:30 a.m.
Forty five years ago this week, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made it across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Ala., and arrived in Montgomery to deliver a powerful prediction regarding the waiting time for racial equality: "How long? Not long!"

It was his third attempt. Twice before that same week, peaceful civil rights marchers had been beaten back with bricks and clubs and hate. Facing down those who said racial and ethnic minorities are inferior, he said calmly, "No lie can live forever."

So perhaps it is fitting that today - also the people's third try to cross over this long bridge to equalities in health - after President Barack Obama signed health care reform into law, we take a moment to again dispel those enduring lies spread by corporations and those who would carry out their marching orders.

It is not a government takeover. It will not fund abortion. It will not bankrupt the country. There will be no "death panels." And it will never come between you and your doctor in medical decision-making. Most people reading this will feel no effect at all.

Here are the top 10 true things you should know about health care reform:

1. Once reform is fully implemented, more than 95 percent of Americans will have health insurance coverage, including 32 million who are currently uninsured.

2. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions, or to drop coverage when people become sick.

3. Just like members of Congress, individuals and small businesses who can't afford to purchase insurance on their own will be able to pool together and choose from a variety of competing plans with lower premiums.

4. Reform will cut the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years, and a whopping $1.2 trillion in the following 10 years.

5. Health care will be more affordable for families and small businesses thanks to new tax credits, subsidies and other assistance, paid for largely by taxing insurance companies, drug companies and the very wealthiest Americans.

6. Seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs because the legislation closes the "doughnut hole" gap in existing coverage.

7. By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.

8. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million low-income people.

9. Instead of losing coverage after they leave home or graduate from college, young adults will be able to remain on their families' insurance plans until age 26.

10. Community health centers would receive an additional $11 billion, doubling the number of patients who can be treated regardless of their insurance or ability to pay.

Great orators of times past like Ronald Reagan erroneously predicted that the creation of Social Security and Medicare would be the end of times for our country. He was simply wrong. Before Social Security and Medicare, most older people lived in poverty; now, most do not.

You have to ask yourself: What do the modern-day "doom and gloom" crowd have to gain by denying health care to all Americans?

They are not just shouting at clouds here. All their efforts and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign ads are targeting American with lies that hit us over the head and leave us dazed and confused.

With bricks and clubs and hate they want to turn this country back across the bridge. But "no lie lives forever."

Arturo Corso is a Gainesville attorney and an occasional contributor to The Times.




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