It's turning ugly
Thursday, August 13, 2009 9:06 AM
"Bertha Lewis, ACORN"
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Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
Right-wing extremists are attacking ACORN again. Last time, they tried to get to Barack Obama by spreading lies about ACORN. Now, they're using the same cowardly strategy and scare tactics to stop health care reform.
Worst of all, it's starting to work -- and it's turning ugly fast. Congressional townhall meetings have erupted into shouting matches thanks to right-wing disrupters. Some have even turned violent. At least one opponent of health care reform posted a message on the popular website Twitter urging the public to use firearms if they encounter ACORN members at a community health care discussion. He wrote, "If ACORN/SEIU attends these meetings for disruptive purposes, and you have a license to carry....carry."
So it's no wonder that opponents are actively spreading lies through email and talk radio in an effort to juice up the angry mobs and derail reform. We need you to contact your Congressperson and Senators and tell them: 1) we won't be intimidated by the scare tactics of an angry, shrill minority and 2) we need adequate health care reform now!
Here are three health care reform lies -- and the truth:
Lie #1: The health care bill includes payoffs to ACORN and unions and ACORN will be enrolling people into the "public option."
The truth: In reality, provisions of the bill allow for anyone to provide input into community care options. This includes homeowners, religious leaders, neighborhood groups, and others. There are no payoffs. There is no money exchanged in any way. In the ongoing effort to demonize ACORN, every instance of the word "community" has become associated with our efforts.
Lie #2: Congress is going to destroy private insurance and you will only get government-run health care.
The truth: Reform creates a "public option" and the public option expands choice. The public option -- really a nationwide plan with a broad network of providers -- will compete with private insurers to do what competition is supposed to do: increase quality and decrease costs. You keep your coverage and doctors, if you want to, while choice extends to millions of the uninsured.
Lie #3: Health care reform will lead to rationing.
The truth: Reform will expand choice for quality health insurance coverage -- while covering more people. But right now, health care is already rationed in some of the most inhumane ways imaginable: denial based on "pre-existing" conditions, recission processes triggered when you make a claim, different coverage based on your gender and, of course, the yearly and lifetime limits on coverage from many plans. The current system is controlled by corporations and their decisions about: whether you get coverage, who your doctor is, and what procedures and medicine are covered are driven by profit motives, not health care decisions. A big part of reform is to stop that.
We are ACORN, and you know these kinds of lies and attacks don't stop us. It just makes us work harder. And we've been fighting for health care reform with everything we've got for over a year now. In 15 states, ACORN members have been mobilizing thousands of community residents, getting dozens of congressional leaders to sign on in support of basic principles for health care reform.
But we're up against the combined power of the insurance lobby, the drug makers lobby, and the for-profit hospitals, among others. And these guys are fighting dirty, doing everything they can to intimidate Congress and stop reform.
The threats of violence show how opponents of change will stop at little to keep the status quo. That's why we need you to tell Congress not to be intimidated by the lies and threats and stand up for adequate health coverage for all Americans.
The truth is that we are on the brink of historic reform of America's inadequate health care system. The next few weeks will determine whether the people or the corporations win this fight. We need to make sure that Congress hears from real grassroots people, not corporate-funded Astroturf, so we can win adequate health care for all Americans. Can you tell Congress to stand up to the lies and intimidation and support common-sense health care reform?
We need you to take action today!
In solidarity and strength,
ACORN CEO and Chief Organizer
ACORN is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 400,000 member families organized into neighborhood chapters in 100 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members. Our priorities include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools. ACORN is an acronym, and each letter should be capitalized. ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.