By Tracy Emblem
July 26, 2009 (San Diego)--Many of us know from personal experience that our health care insurance system is not working. Families and business owners cannot meet escalating premiums, co-pays and high prescription costs. Besides the millions of Americans who are without health care insurance at all, many are under-insured and cannot get the care they need. President Obama has stepped up to the plate to reform our health care insurance system.
Between 1999 and 2008, the yearly premiums for family coverage went up 119 percent, while the inflation rate was only 22.1 percent. The health care industry, motivated by overreaching profits, is currently spending millions to poison public opinion on real health care insurance reform. They repeat "fear" words in the media and their fellow supporters in Congress parrot such words as "rationing," "government takeover," "bureaucrats" and "doctor-patient" in reference to the ideas for reform presently being debated on the floor of Congress.
We can no longer afford the politics of fear that has increasingly been used in recent years to foist bad policy on the public. For example, terrorists attacked on September 11, 2001. Within days, Attorney General Ashcroft strong-armed Congress and the Patriot Act was passed. We also had a "weapons of mass destruction" claim circulated to garner support for President Bush's invasion of Iraq.
There is no question that the politics of fear work and can be used effectively to promote an agenda. In his first inaugural speech, President Franklin Roosevelt wisely declared that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. That concept remains true throughout the years, but many have forgotten it.
Tracy Emblem is an attorney and a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, California's 50th District.