As the debate over national health care reform has grown increasingly heated, it’s become more and more difficult to separate fact from fiction based on newspaper accounts alone, despite journalists’ best efforts. In that spirit, here are a few points people should know the truth about before reform comes up for final votes in Congress.

When people or their loved ones are incapacitated, near the end of life and unable to make decisions, would they like to have their families involved in making the relevant decisions about their care or making sure their wishes are carried out? Some versions of health care reform bills encourage doctors to offer counseling to help people prepare for this type of situation. If people support that, they should support health care reform — and they should definitely ignore disingenuous or misinformed opponents of reform who try to scare them with bogus stories about so-called “death panels.”

Next time people choose their insurance plans, would they like to be restricted to private plans that may or may not keep the people’s best interests above company profit interests? Or would people rather add in the option of a public health insurance plan with a government mandate that would cut their costs?

With a public option, people can’t lose. They can have that public plan, or they can have the same choice of private plans, only now they’re competing with the public plan. The people have a choice.

Elaine Gurschick, Hebron

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