Friday, August 7, 2009

Healthcare reform

My fellow Democrats: We're in for the fight of our lives. I know more about what we're up against than most Democrats, because I'm married to a staunch Republican, attend a church that's 90+% Republican, and have many friends among them. I'm also a sociologist by training and a debater by practice.

Based on all this, here's some heartfelt advice:

1. Don't call them racists.

It's a Rovian trap to do so--one set by the Republican leadership and their healthcare denial industry paymasters. They never, ever say \"We hate Obama because he's black,\" even if everything they do would make it reasonable to think so.

But when you call them racists, you've just changed the topic from healthcare reform to a territory they can defend. And while you're trying to prove they're racists, the RNC will be rubbing its hands, as the topic of healthcare is forgotten.

2. Don't let them call Obama and the Democratic Party and you socialists.

And they will. Count on it. I usually say: \"Socialism means ownership of business by government. Democrats don't want to own it. We just want to regulate it. We tried business without regulation twice in the last century. It got us the Great Depression and now the worst recession since that. But help me out. Republicans seem to want ownership of government by business. What do you call that?\"

And as Krugman points out, they don't want \"socialized healthcare\" but they're often on Medicare.

The other advanced countries--all democracies--have everything ranging from heavily regulated private systems to mostly socialized ones. All of them are far cheaper than our system; all of them have better health outcomes than our system. And not one of those countries' electorates have ever shown the slightest interest in adopting our system.

Guess why? They don't want to die while some for-profit insurance company denies your request for a new kidney, hoping that if they slow-foot your claim you will in fact die before they're forced to honor it.

And by the way...cops and firemen are \"socialized safety.\"

3. They'll say most Americans are happy with their current healthcare.

I say wait 'till you or a loved one gets really sick. After all, if you ran a health insurance company, and your only goal was profit, what would you do when a customer got really, really sick?

You'd get rid of him, using your army of bureaucrats whose main job is to find excuses for recission--that's cutting off someone's insurance by saying you didn't dot an \"i\" somewhere on your application.

That's why I call these companies the \"Healthcare denial industry.\" Very few people who've actually had catastrophic illness are happy with their healthcare insurance. And even those who say they're happy may not have noticed how their healthcare premiums have doubled in the last few years, because it's why you didn't get a raise--it's often hidden in your overall compensation.

4. They'll say they don't want the government telling them when to die, and as Krugman points out, even Republican congressmen are saying this.

People this far gone can rarely be reached, but I just say \"The people you think are on your side are actually vampires sucking your blood; the people you think are out to destroy you and America are actually trying to save you--and you're throwing away the life vest they've thrown you because the predators pretending to be your friends told you it's a bomb.\"

Bottom line: the Republican healthcare plan is the alternative to the Democrats' attempt at healthcare reform. What's that plan, you say? Easy. It's the healthcare reform plan Congress passed during the 12 years the Republican Party controlled Congress and the six years it controlled all three branches of government:


That's right, folks. That's their healthcare reform package. Nothing. Excuse me if I don't include their pharmaceutical industry giveaway that masqueraded as Medicare drug assistance. Other than that phony plan that ordered government agencies to pay whatever price the drug companies chose to charge...nothing.

The healthcare denial industry has grown to swallow up 1/6 of the entire American economy, gutting our competitiveness on the world market, through keeping things exactly as they are. Without healthcare reform the current system will take up 1/3 of the entire economy in a few years.

It's unsustainable. You think Medicare and Social Security are headed for trouble? That's nothing compared to this.

Most of all, the Republicans want their rank and file to think we Democrats are their enemy; that we want to turn America into some alien place they won't recognize.

And they want Democrats to treat Republican rank and file as their enemy, so we'll never realize we both have the same enemy: the bloodsucking billionaires who pull the strings in the shadows. They're practising divide and conquer. And they're very, very good at it.

So remember who the real enemy is.


Anonymous said...

Kudos! You've nailed every point spot on. Have you tried these arguments on your husband? Being married to a staunch -- as in rigid and inflexible -- Republican, you have my complete sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Good post! I know your pain as I am also married to a dittohead Republican. They get their talking points from Rush Limbaugh and their debating "skills" from Ann Coulter. A mob of immature, uninformed adolescents, who are out of control because they lost. Forget bi-partisan as they do not play well with others or know how to formulate their own opinions.

Iron Knee said...

Ten (ironic) reasons to support health care reform:

katie t. said...

I hope you don't mind if I use some things you parents are Republicans but open to Democratic ideas. They just need to stop watching Fox News.

Nick said...

Very impressive -- I came here from Reddit, which linked to this comment at the site -- maybe you should be getting ready for some more traffic!

Please feel free to stop by my blog at -- I feel much as you do about this issue, and I still hold out hope that we can convince everyone that significant healthcare reform is in the nation's best interest.

John said...

Brilliant advice. I plan on sharing it. I've fallen into some of these traps in the past and I'll try not to do so again in the future.

Idle Eyes said...

I am just coming out of an angry back-and-forth with two relatives who have tossed around the words "Hitler" and "socialism" in the midst of an email exchange about health care. I found your comment linked from Reddit. Thank you! I'll try and spread it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the people the democrats have to convince are mostly gone anyway, and will never accept change foisted upon them. Just face it, you are going to have to point guns at their heads and demand they poney up the dough or else. Once they recognize that they have to impose their will on others by force of arms, the democrats can be just as untouchable as Bush and his army of morons before them. This is not a free country anymore. Just take advantage of the tools the previous cabal of bastards put in place, and ram this legislation down the throats of those who will never want it. Land of the enslaved, home of the fearful. Love it, or die.

Anonymous said...

Perfectly stated and to the point!

Ehkzu said...

Jason left a comment I needed to edit slightly. Sorry about that. --Ehkzu

I'm a republican, and I just want you to think more like this...the republicans and democrats are tickling each others' [bleep]s under the table while they make it look like it's two enemies.

I believe we need healthcare reform, but bill 3200 is scary to emagine how much our president wants to control everything, and it's not because he's black. He's too much government and it scares the [bleep] out of most people!

God Bless

Emily said...

FANTASTIC! I can't praise you enough. Unfortunately, 99% of Republicans are indeed too far gone.
It's a sad, sad shame how lost this country is.