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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"I'm not talking about Medicare, I'm Talking about Socialized Medicine"

Obamacare - Socialized Medicine; for some "them is fighting words."  But why?

On her blog site, Maxine Udall highlights well a frustrating discussion many of us have had:
An elderly relative started complaining about "Obamacare" and how it would lead to "socialized medicine." Knowing the person had heart surgery courtesy of Medicare and was receiving ongoing monitoring and care, I said, "I didn't realize you were so unhappy with Medicare." To which I received the reply: "I'm not talking about Medicare, I'm talking about socialized medicine."
"How is Medicare different from socialized medicine?" I asked.
"Medicare isn't socialized," came the reply. "I pay for it. I pay every month and when I've had surgery, I've had to pay some of it. Medicare is like any other insurance."
"Well," I said, "I know you're paying a premium for Part B and I know there are copayments and deductibles, but Medicare is a government run health insurance program."
To which the reply was: "But I'm talking about socialized medicine. You know that whenever the government gets involved in anything, it never does a good job."
"I had no idea you were having problems with Medicare." said I. "I always had the impression you were pretty satisfied with it. And with the VA, too. I know you've used the VA for some care recently. What problems have you had with Medicare or the VA?"
"Well, none with Medicare or the VA, but I'm not talking about Medicare. I'm talking about socialized medicine."
"So you're happy with Medicare?"
"Would you mind if your [adult] children could buy into it? Your son is unemployed. Would it be OK if he could buy into Medicare?"
"Well, sure. As long as he has to pay like I do."
You were all wondering how someone could say, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare?" Well, there you have it. Now that I've told you, I'm still not sure I understand it. It was one of the most frustrating and at the same time enlightening conversations I have had in a long time. The person with whom I was conversing is intelligent, educated, and not senile.
So there you have it.  Like so many they are opposed to "socialized medicine" but "keep your hands off my Welfare."  It's really frustrating, but then when they also say - "wells sure my kids can have Medicare too if they pay for it" - it becomes discouraging.  Discouraging in that we are both talking about the same thing and the same result (affordable health-care for all) but we end up disagreeing over "characterization."

How is Medicare not "socialized medicine?"  Or better yet, if Medicare is ok, then why would a governmentt run plan for all not be okay and why would it be called "socialized medicine?"

The difficulty in dealing with those who oppose "Obamacare", climate deniers (and the birthers and so many others) is not that they don't understand the evidence – it's that evidence has nothing to do with their belief. The denial comes from deep-seated emotional commitments and fears, in unthinking adherence to some political ideology and, often, in a perceived financial interest in not knowing – and they simply cannot hear rational arguments.

"If they're for it," many Americans reason, "Then it's a bad idea whether or not I understand it. Therefore, I'm against it."

So from now on whenever I hear that some Republican is opposed to "Obamacare" I plan on telling those who listen, that yes the Republicans wish to repeal Obamacare and Medicare.  And when Republicans deny it, make them explain why Medicare isn't the same as Obamacare.  Hell, the Republicans are already moving to drastically reduce and change Social Security, so you know Medicare isn't far behind.

In a letter to The New York Times, Scott O. Lilienfield, a psychology professor at Emory, wrote that much of our political discourse is marked by "rampant confirmation bias," in which people "deny, dismiss, and distort evidence" that is not consistent with their beliefs. The fifth of Americans who hold that Obama is Muslim are unquestionably those for whom the president can do no right. Casting him as a Muslim is a convenient—and provocative—form of devaluation in a society which is fearful of Muslims in general. "Muslimers"—if I may put it that way—are of the same ilk as "birthers," those who maintain (again, without a shred of evidence) that Obama was not born in the United States, rendering him ineligible for the White House. (Obama's Muslimization is a way to render him ineligible, culturally, to be an American president.)

I have said it before and I will say it again.  I do not understand how you vote Republican if you are elderly and if you are not a multi-millionaire.  If it is because of "conservative social issues", wouldn't you be better off voting for more conservative democrats or trying to get your democratic representatives to adopt more conservative ideology?   When those Republicans finally succeed in taking away your Social Security and eliminating that socialized medicine program called Medicare, at least you will have solice sleeping on the steps of your boarded up Church (because like you, all of the other parishioners went broke - the rich will still have their "members-only" church in the Hamptons).


  1. What a thoughful and provacative analysis.


  2. Well said. It's all about how "framing" the issues can appeal to the emotions, in order to leave out thinking and/or common sense. Unfortunately, there are many who will remain "deliberately ignorant," like the elderly relative in the post, because emotional needs are met by repeating someone else's "wisdom."