Yesterday, I had a discussion with my neighbor about Obamacare. He is conservative and opposed to it on the grounds that it restricts his personal freedom not to have insurance. He is about my age (late 70's).  I pointed out that he is on Medicare with a good secondary insurance from his former employer and is therefore unaffected by ACA, his reply was that he would be if he didn't have insurance and that was enough to make him mad.

The argument that the uninsured use emergency rooms for which he pays indirectly through increased hospital costs did not make any difference to him since he never sees those costs explicitly. The man is a retired software engineer and might be expected to understand things better, but his rightwing mindset prevents it. He said he preferred the country he grew up in where you still had choices. In that country—before Medicare—one third of people our age lived below the poverty line.

This illustrates the difficulty in getting people to understand public issues. Once the issues have been framed in an emotional setting, reason departs.

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Joan, the practicing Catholics I know are able to parrot arguments that fit onto bumper stickers, as this rather young priest did.

I don't trust them to be capable of independent thought.

The ACA, if it is to work at all, should have been a single payer system.  The business model for all insurance schemes is simple: Collect as much money as possible, from the greatest number of payers as possible and pay out as little as possible. Anybody could make money with this scheme.

A single-payer system would be much better, but it seems to be politically impossible in the USA at this point. Whether the restrictions on the insurance offered through the exchanges will prevent the abuse you anticipate is a good question, but at least people will be able to get insurance of some kind and for many people that is a major improvement in their lives.

In the meantime we should not let conservatives get away with the argument that Obamacare is socialism. Requiring people to buy health insurance from private profit-making companies is very far from socialism.

The dogmatic conservative style in argument is not a new phenomenon and quite tiresome, but it should not prevail due to a lack of challenge. Conservatives imagine they have won the argument when all they have done is repeat canned arguments learned from Limbaugh et al.

Agreed. Having a profit-making health insurance does not meet the needs of this great nation. Are we really so skeptical about the population that we can't even imagine it ever happening here? 

Let me think. Everybody pays into a system that includes health delivery systems to urban and rural, that doctors are available for all who need the skilled professionals, that physician assistants and nurses strategically placed around the country to meet the need for less skilled diagnostic and treatment the people need, and no one is denied access to care. 

Take the money out of warring, colonizing, collect taxes from churches, and have no loopholes or off shore hideaways for earnings or profits. It seems doable to me. 

A few years ago I met a wonderful woman doctor at a cocktail party in Madrid. She worked for Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) and had just returned from Africa. She did pediatrics and specialized in cosmetic surgery on harelips.

There are some fine heroic doctors doing wonderful work and many others trapped in a profit-making system that neglects the poor.

America's predatory capitalists like several kinds of socialism. Among them are these:

1. Any kind of gov't expenditure (i.e., highway construction, water projects, etc) that increases land values. Insiders who know which lands will increase in value and hide their land ownership in blind trusts find it highly profitable. Law enforcement finds it untraceable.

2. The usual corporate welfare.

3. The also-usual agribusiness welfare.

4. Any kind of gov't expenditure that lets businesses privatize the profits and socialize the losses.


Click on the above link if in doubt.


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