The Common Good

Stop this Malicious E-mail

An e-mail is circulating that, like most scary e-mails, is entirely false. According to this e-mail, people over 59 can't get heart surgery in England (actually, they can and they do). The e-mail implies that Natasha Richardson's death was due to failures in Canada's health care system (actually, they responded very quickly once the family allowed them to). It says that President Obama wants our system to be based on Canada's and England's (actually, he doesn't). It likens the president's health care plans to signing "senior death warrants."

And that's only for starters. It is hard to find a single fact in the e-mail. Even quotations are attributed to the wrong people. You can read the e-mail and a thoroughly researched response at the FactCheck Web site, and I hope you will.

Please, whether you love or hate the health care proposals now being discussed, check out the facts before ever passing on an e-mail. Any e-mail. Especially if it, like this one, says, "Please use the power of the internet to get this message out." E-mails that beg to be passed on are always annoying, usually false, and often malicious. This one is all three.

portrait-lavonne-neffLaVonne Neff is an editor, writer, and publishing consultant in Wheaton, Illinois, who blogs on book, bodies, and faith at

To learn more about health-care reform, click here to visit Sojourners' Health-Care Resources Web page.

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