Monday, July 20, 2009

Letter to the editor, Rome News-Tribune

I submitted this yesterday to the Rome News:

The Rome News-Tribune headlined a story today (7/18/09) of a small local group protesting the proposed changes to our U.S. health care system. The Floyd County Republican party chairman Mike Morton there claimed that “Americans don’t want socialized health care.”
Mr. Morton apparently hasn’t read the recent NYT poll that found that Americans do overwhelmingly support substantial changes to our health care system. 72 % of those surveyed were in favor of a public plan and only 20% were opposed. Half of those supporting such a plan were Republicans.
Nor does it appear that Mr. Morton has read the hundreds of heartbreaking stories that Georgians have told on the Organizing for America website, or the stories we have collected from our new non-profit women’s clinic (see
According to the Institute of Medicine, the United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care. As a result, Americans have some of the worst health outcomes in the industrialized world. Whether or not “we have the best system of health care in the world” as Mr. Morton claims, is irrelevant to those who can’t access health care at all. The fact is that 1.6 million Georgians and 46 million Americans do not have health insurance right now.
Mr. Morton’s use of pejorative and inaccurate terms such as “socialized medicine” is a fear-mongering tactic to deflect from the fact that our health care system is failing and is in need of urgent and comprehensive changes. I guess that Mr. Morton will soon be calling Thomas Jefferson a socialist. After all, Jefferson wrote that that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 1.6 million Georgians and 46 million Americans are currently being denied access to health care, thus their unalienable right to life is threatened.
Providing affordable, quality health care to all is not socialism, it is a moral imperative. We ask that Georgians continue to tell their health care access stories and continue to demand that our legislators pass effective health care reform this year.

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