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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lessons about health reform from Home Alone

In the holiday classic Home Alone, Kevin McCallister is petrified of his next door neighbor, "Old Man" Marley. That is, until the end of the movie, when he actually takes the time to get to know him. "Old Man" Marley turns out to be a kind man with a good heart. We've all learned lessons like this, where we've found out the hard way that our fears or judgments are false. The same is actually true for health reform.

According to a new poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, many Americans become supportive of the provisions in the health care legislation when they are explained accurately to them. The Kaiser poll found that

...large shares of people, including skeptics, become more supportive after being told about many of the major provisions in the bills.

Unfortunately, the scare tactics of our opponents have worked to confuse people, and many still do not understand the most important concepts in the bills. The rumors of killing grandparents, reducing doctor choice, and higher costs have trumped reality, but when the truth emerges, a brighter view of health reform comes with it. According to Kaiser,

...majorities reported feeling more favorable toward the legislation after learning about key elements such as the availability of tax credits for small businesses, the creation of health insurance exchanges, the inability of insurers to deny people coverage because of pre-existing conditions and the move to close the Medicare drug benefit's "doughnut hole."

These are critical pieces of legislation, which a majority of Americans agree are crucial. Although the future of health reform might seem unknown, what we can learn from this poll is crystal clear: When Americans are given the facts, they realize that death panels and scare tactics are little more than sorry political plays by politicians.

It's time to speak out loud and clear about the benefits of the bill-and there are many. Don't let the opposition control the debate-let your friends know today why reform will make every American's life better.