At 7:18 tonight (7/18/2012) I received a phone call from my congressman, Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), to participate in a telephone town hall. As a loyal Democrat, I had to listen in. Boy am I glad I did!
The first caller, "Rob," had a real concern, which sounded very scripted, about the ACA. He was scared that the Independent Payment Advisory Board ("death panels") was going to ration care to Medicare patients to save money. He told a story about his 87-year-old mother that had just completed cancer treatment and he was worried that had she been sick after 2014 that the IPAB would not allow her to have treatment.
I sat there screaming at my phone, "NO, NO, NO, YOU IDIOT!!!! THAT'S NOT WHAT IT DOES!!!!" Hoping to hear Mr. Fitzpatrick say the same thing in nicer terms, I was sorely disappointed. He reinforced this man's beliefs by LYING to him! He told him that he was correct. That the IPAB would ration healthcare to save money.
Well, I was so angry that I had to write my congressman and, of course, share it with you. The email I just sent to Mike Fitzpatrick is below.
Dear Mr. Fitzpatrick,
I was called at home to listen to your telephone town hall meeting on 7/18/2012. During the meeting, a gentleman named Rob inquired about the ACA, specifically the Independent Payment Advisory Board. He was concerned that the board was in place to ration healthcare, citing his 87-year-old mother that beat cancer and how she would not have gotten the care if the IPAB was in place.
Rather than set the facts straight, you lied by telling him that the board was specifically in place to do exactly what he was concerned about. You made it sound as if anyone on Medicare that required care would have to go before this board of "unelected bureaucrats" to see if they were worthy of keeping alive. In fact, had you read the "2700 page bill," to which you referred the ACA as six times in your explanation, you would know that the IPAB is nothing of the sort. But to further misinform the already misinformed you willfully chose to solidify his concerns by agreeing with him and lying about the actual role of the IPAB.
The truth about the IPAB is that it would recommend policies to Congress to help Medicare provide better care at lower costs by including ideas on coordinating care, getting rid of waste in the system, incentivizing best practices, and prioritizing primary care. It does NOT ration healthcare as you implied. In fact, it is specifically prohibited by law from recommending any policies that ration care, especially on an individual basis.
Your opinion of the ACA may be different than mine, which I can respect. However, as an elected official attempting to further his opposition to it with voters by lying about its contents and effects on patients, I certainly cannot respect.
Perhaps your less informed constituents would be better served by a representative that provides them with facts rather than bald-faced lies.
A Concerned Citizen of Your District,
Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 5:20 AM PT: Thanks for the rec!
I took the advice of a few commenters and contacted a local reporter who has written articles about Fitzpatrick in the past.
I will update again if I hear back from my congressman, aside from the autoresponded email I received.