Trapped! We're trapped!
28 July 2009, 5:36 PM
I have been listening, now and then, to National Public Radio. Not all day, and not for very long at a time. And I haven’t (thank the Divine) been watching news on television, either cable or broadcast. So I don’t really know whether this has been going on and I’ve been missing it, or whether really nobody is saying this. But I have heard people interviewed who are on the radio to support my Party’s health care reforms, specifically people who support the public option, and they are asked what will be different if the health care reform gets passed. And I haven’t heard any of them say anything like this.
Well, the main thing, for most of your listeners, is that if they change jobs, they won’t have to worry about their health insurance. If your job stinks, but your current health care is decent—and there are a lot of people like that—the public option would make it possible to back to school, or to start your own business, or to work for a non-profit for a while. If you have a good job with good insurance, this reform won’t change that. If you have no insurance, this reform will make sure you do have insurance, and—can I be honest, here? Even if you think you don’t need insurance, this reform puts you in the pool. I think that’s a plus. But the big difference between our plan, that has a last-resort option for public insurance, and the current plan, or whatever plan the Republicans are claiming they have, and we haven’t seen it yet and I don’t think we will—the difference between our plan, Terry (or Renee or Neil or whoever), is that nobody will ever again be trapped in a lousy job because their children’s insurance is being held hostage.
Am I wrong? Aren’t there about fifty million people who have had that conversation with someone, where their niece or their old college buddy is talking about what they would do, but they need to keep their health package? I think the people that you have to convince, to get poll numbers up to the point where legislators feel pressure they can’t resist, are people who have decent health insurance themselves. The political plan has been to emphasize that you could lose your health insurance, but (a) that hasn’t been working, and (2) many people don’t really think that bad things will happen to them, until they do. I don’t mean to say that they should altogether stop that line of attack, because it is, after all, true—your employer could go bankrupt, after all, and lots of them do—but I think the trapped-in-a-lousy-job line is a persuasive one, and one that fits a lot of people’s worldview.
Particularly, I would think, people who listen to NPR. Which is why I am griping about not having heard it. I’m hoping that it’s just been one of those coincidences, that the moment I shut the thing off and go in the house, somebody is on about being trapped by their health insurance. Or it’s on television pundit shows, which I am unwilling to watch even to correct my impression of this.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,