Veterans Administration Death BooksSeptember 3, 2009 at 5:45 am | Posted in health care, stupidity | 1 Comment
Tags: Death Book, health care reform, health care reform town halls, lies about health care reform, misinformation about health care reform, town hall meetings, Veterans Administration Death Book
Last night I attended a town hall meeting held by our representative regarding health care reform. The meeting had been advertised and those wanting to attend were asked to RSVP. My boyfriend made our reservation for two. We arrived over an hour early hoping for good seats but it was already too late as they were letting people in on a first come first served basis.. so much for making reservations. The meeting was scheduled for six PM and people had been waiting in line since two in the afternoon. The high school auditorium held a thousand people and another thousand were seated outside and were told they would be able to watch via closed circuit TV.
As we approached the building there were at least fifty people holding signs for, against, aliens are coming, etc. Upon entering the school property, which was surrounded by an eight foot chain link fence, people were being told all signs had to be left outside. The security people were extremely diligent about not letting anyone sneak a sign inside. I had expected metal detectors; imagine my surprise when I learned that signs posed a much bigger threat than someone with a concealed weapon so you can imagine how relieved I was knowing I would be safe in what might be a crazy, but sign free, crowd.
Since we’d made a reservation I figured we were entitled to be in the auditorium (which we were told was at capacity) so we entered the building on the pretext of using the restrooms (on our honor we would come back out, hah). We went into the auditorium and asked the guard inside the door if we could stand at the back, he said yes, but as it happened there were two vacant seats in the back row.
While waiting for the meeting to begin the man next to me, clearly against any kind of government run health care because he was convinced that it would infringe on his VA benefits (you know, his government run health care). He told me his theories, which were the same absurd rhetoric we’ve been hearing from the crazies out there for the last couple of months. He then proceeded to tell me about how the VA has brought back the Death Books… that Bush had gotten rid of them but Obama brought them back and that vets laughingly refer to this publication as the Death Book. I wanted to know more so I asked him what is in this book. He said this was a booklet for retired veterans that asks them if they feel like a burden to their family, suggests they forgo certain kinds of life prolonging medical care, and in general suggests they try not to live too long so they won’t use up too much money receiving their benefits. I asked him if he’d actually seen this Death Book and he told me he had one and that I could just go to the VA and pick one up from the counter. Since we were nowhere near the VA I decided I would call them tomorrow, which is today and I did…more on that in a bit.
The meeting agenda, on a screen on stage, indicated the meeting would be opened and closed with a prayer. I don’t think there is any doubt about my thoughts on that. After the praying, people were asked to be respectful and listen and learn from those with differing viewpoints, which apparently means be loud and obnoxious so no one gets heard. There was a lot of loud and lingering booing, thumbs down, calling the congresswoman a liar, and general mob like behavior. It was a little scary at times and I was glad to be in the back row near an exit. We left about half way through as there didn’t seem to be much point in staying. As we headed out it turned out the gate through which we had entered had been closed and locked so I got to climb the eight foot fence which was the highlight of the evening as far as I was concerned. It was like being in a movie where the main character is being chased by bad guys and ends up at the end of an alley blocked by a high fence as the bad guys are gaining on him/her…except without the dramatic music and lighting.
Back to the Death Books. I called the VA about an hour ago and spoke with Jim Collins, a disabled veteran counselor. I felt a little silly actually asking the question, knowing what the answer would be, but I wanted verification in case anyone else out there believes this Death Book bullshit. He chuckled as he told me what is sometimes referred to as the Death Book is actually a pamphlet outlining death benefits for the surviving families of deceased veterans. I told him what I had heard last night and he laughed, and said there is a lot of misinformation going around and most of it is laughable. I asked him if I could quote him and use his name, he obviously said yes.