Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I am elated that our Congress under our President's leadership has finally passed a Health Care Reform package and it has been signed into law. The bill is not perfect (I am still an advocate for single payer), but its a great start.

I gained a very small amount of noteiriety in the last days of the debate be getting my picture taken at a Health Care Reform rally discussing the bill with an opponent of reform. The thing that struck me about the opposition was their almost complete lack of knowledge on the bill. They kept telling me that it was 2700 pages long and that nobody knew what was in it, despite the fact that it had been passed by the Senate 3 months earlier and was available online for anyone to read. They kept telling me it would take away their freedoms but not one of them could tell me which part of the bill would violate any of their freedoms or which part of the bill was contrary to the Constitution. I was told I was a Communist or a Socialist and the I was destroying the Constitution and that I was pig-headed (they were right about that) and that I didn't have any facts.

But, with one exception, none of them could or would even try to answer any of my questions. None of them could define Socialism even though they knew I was one (or maybe a Communist but they couldn't define that either).

One man didn't call me names and was actually interested in discussing issues. He was of the opinion that Health Insurance Companies were not subject to regulation under the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution because the states currently do most of the regulation of Health Insurance Companies. I disagreed that Blue Cross/Blue Shield or Anthem or United Health Care companies were not engaged in Interstate Commerce, but atleast he had a coherent well articulated argument. He did want to tell me how the Public Option sections of the House passed Health Care Reform bill would have inevitably destroyed all Private Insurance companies but I didn't really discuss that much since the Public Option was not in the Senate Bill that was being voted on.

One man in a crowd of 40 or so opponents that could intelligently articulate real arguments against the proposed bill. The rest either ignored me or just followed me around shouting slogans at me or just told me I was a pigheaded Constitution hating Socialist/Communist who wanted to destroy our Freedoms and didn't have any facts. At least they got the pig headed thing right.

Then today I saw this poll and it all sort of became clear.

For the most part, Republicans no longer seem interested in facts.

A new Research 2000 poll of more than 2,000 Republicans, conducted for the liberal blog Daily Kos, has some eyebrow-raising findings:
-- 63% of them believe President Obama is a socialist
-- 53% believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama is
-- 39% believe he should be impeached
-- 36% believe he wasn't born in the United States
-- 31% believe the president hates white people
-- 24% believe the president wants the terrorists to win
-- 23% believe their state should secede from the union

36% believe that President Obama is not an American. I wonder if many of the 63% who consider him a Socialist can actually define the term. So many of the objections that were made against the bill were simply not true. But Republicans/Conservatives just didn't seem to care about facts or the truth.

24% of Republicans think the President wants the terrorists to win.

What have they been smoking?

Over the course of this debate I ahve become more and more dismissive of Republicans/Conservatives because of the things this poll exposes. Largely they seem uninterested in the facts, prefering to stick to their talking points and slogans.

There are some Republican's/Conservatives who understand these bills and have intelligent articulate objections to them. I just have trouble finding them.

We, as a nation, have serious problems and they deserve serious intelligent debate. But thats not what we have been getting. And with the debate on Cap and Trade coming up I have little confidence that Republicans/Conservatives will be interested in discussing those bills factually either. It would be great, but I am not holding my breath.

24% of Republicans believe their state should secede from the United States. And they say I am the one trying to destroy America.


Anonymous said...

This was well-argued, and as an opponent of this legislation, I can't deny that some of its vocal opponents are not completely informed about it. That does not invalidate their concerns. Likewise, there are a great many proponents of the legislation who are at best, seriously naive, and at worst, outright liars.

My biggest concern with the health-care legislation is that it will force me to buy health insurance. This is well-intentioned, but unAmerican.

I fail to see why I should be forced to buy health insurance (in full disclosure--yes, I do pay for health insurance but it's by choice). If abortion is a privacy issue (as decided by the supreme court) why is every other aspect of our health any business of the government?

I'm amazed that advocates of a single-payer system aren't delighted by this legislation. No, it doesn't achieve the ultimate goal, but it puts in place a system so flawed that it will force a single-payer system on us. So for people who are antsy for a European-style system, I urge a little patience.

This is a great day for that small portion of Americans who long for the happy day when we will be nurtured by Mother State from cradle to grave and our most difficult choice will be what to watch and what to TIVO.

Uncle Walt said...


I agree that some people that agree with me about the need for universal health care and for Health Insurace Reform at the national level are not as conversant about the benefits or costs of this bill as I am, or as you are. But in all my discussions about the bill, I have not seen supporters be so completely wrong as the opponents seem to be.

This bill, what ever you think about the Individual Mandate, is not a socialist bill. It should have the impact of putting another 32 million people on the rolls of Private Insurance companies, both for Profit or not for profit. This bill does not even include a Public Option.

I was struck over and over in the numerous debates leading up to this occassion, the unwillingness of opponents to actually discuss the bill. They would call it names like Socialist, they would lie about it with talk of Death Panels and Subsudies for Illegal Immigrants or Federal funding of Abortion. They would ignore the CBO scoring and claim, with no basis other than their desire to oppose, that the program would add to the deficit.

I understand your concern about the individual mandate. I am not convinced that part of the program will survive the Supremes. I suspect it will, but I am not confident. Mass has had an individual mandate similar to this since 2007 and it seems to be working.

I believe that the Individual Mandate is an important part of this program. We require anyone that drives to have insurance because things happen. Our system already requires that people get some basic level of emergency care even if they cannot pay. The result of that is that everyone already gets limited access to health care. The problem is they are not paying for it. They are freeloading on the rest of us. You can argue the numbers, but the care that the uninsured gets costs those of us who do have insurance somewhere between $200 and $1000/year. I would rather they carry their own load.

This stopped being a completely private decision when we, through our legislature, decided that we would not, morally could not, deny emergency/urgent care to people if they would not be able to pay for that insurance.

I am an advocate of Single Payer, though I fail to see what it is in this bill (without even a public option) that will make single payer inevitable.

To circle back to your initial point. I agree that being less than completely informed does not invalidate someones concerns. But, in my experience in this debate, a huge fraction of the opponents were opposed to this bill for reasons that simply weren't true. Being opposed to a bill because of things that are NOT ACTUALLY in the bill, that does sort of invalidate their concerns.