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Just and unjust rallies: health care edition

Thousands of health care reform advocates rallied at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, DC, last week outside a conference of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a group that lobbies for the insurance industry. See the video above.

Health care-related protests continued into the weekend, but this time, they were organized by opponents of health care reform. In Minneapolis, for example, thousands of Tea Partiers and Republicans rallied and chanted, “Kill the bill!”

Why might supporters of citizen action sympathize with one side over another?  Facts.  Yes, facts do seem to come cheap these days.  But even if the public thinks the health care bill would create death panels, it still proposes no such thing.

Facts do exist and they matter.

Take the uninsured: 45,000 uninsured people die in the U.S each year – 123 per day – who could have escaped death with health insurance, according to a 2009 Harvard study. The current health care bill, through insurance reforms and subsidies, would at least reduce that number by extending coverage to millions.

Protesters against health care reform may be reading from the same playbook as people in favor of reform. But rallying for a cause does not a just cause make.