Image: A scared mom (not mine)
My mom is like many moms in America right now: scared witless and not sure what to think about health reform.
But, instead of reading the news or seeking out credible information on how she in particular will be affected by the legislation, she has decided to reach her “own conclusions” and no number of facts I throw at her will change that … Or, so she (basically) told me in a recent e-mail exchange.
I’m sure as hell not the only one right now trying to explain what this legislation means to people who’ve been so peppered by propaganda over the last year they’ve become certain it’s akin to some Bolshevik plot to kill their aging parents and put them into slavery … When really, it’s anything but.
It has gotten quite old, watching corporate citizens manipulate prejudices of the poor and working classes, stirring strife and striking petty bickering over something most modern nations consider a civil right. There are very reasonable objections to the health reforms President Obama signed today, but they typically get little to no play in mainstream press.
No — Instead, we’re manipulated to work against our own interests by the tactics of Sun Tzu: divide, then conquer. Tea parties antagonize progressives with their wacky, mildly racist hijinks, amid crowds of thousands who’re all just generally angry; and they’re mad because they’re told that progressives want to kill grandma or assign some Rick Moranis look-alike to shake his head and glibly poke at a clipboard whenever Timmy scrapes his knee; meanwhile, the press just eats up the meat gallery of weird, hooking in clicks with the typical rage-sploitation headlines that always burn up social media, ’cause ya know most people just Love to hate; and when all the elements finally combine the end result spirals out this damp cobweb of delusion that ultimately transforms our only shot at a level playing field with big business, what some call politics, into a form of theater, like reality television, mere bread and circuses for the masses … and All of this is utter bullshit, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
For the benefit of my fellow countrymen trying to share these tricky, unmovable objects we call “facts” with their fear-driven brethren, I give you a fireside health reform chat with my right-wing mom: an actual series of e-mails traded on the day health reform became law.
I figure it’s only a matter of time until people start sending you crazy propaganda emails about health reform, so before that happens go ahead and give this list a read. These are the top six items I consider best among the health care changes President Obama will sign into law on Tuesday. If you get any wacko emails screaming about socialism, send ’em this.
1. No more pre-existing conditions for children, starting now. For adults in the short term, there’s a new high-risk insurance pool and pre-existing conditions will be eliminated entirely by 2014.
2. Working families that earn less than $88,000 a year will have their premiums capped between 2 and 9.5 percent of their household income. Before health reform, it was not uncommon for poor and middle class families to pay much, much more for health insurance.
3. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees will get a 50 percent tax credit for their health insurance. WIN.
4. New health insurance policies will be required to cover check-ups and preventative care completely sans co-pay. Another WIN.
5. No more annual or lifetime caps on how much treatment your insurance will pay for — and, insurers can no longer drop the sick people.
6. Not only will insurers be forced to disclose their earnings data and overhead to the public, new regulations will require health and nutrient information to be advertised by fast food chains. Transparency all-around! (Sort-of.)
All of that is real and all of it will begin affecting your life very soon. There were a lot of bitter pills to swallow during the health reform debate but it’s passed now and it won’t be repealed any time soon. I thought you’d appreciate some factual information, considering how crazy everyone is going off lately.
Thank you for thinking of me, however, I have been already reading much of what you disclosed to me. Sounds like lots of red tape quagmire government meddling. What a nightmare for our country. What ever happened to party compromise?? What ever happened to respect for the states positions? What ever happened to DEMOCRACY??????Big brother is coming…………..
As for the crazies screaming socialism, I don’t have to have anyone tell me what this takeover is. I know without talk show commentaries. I am not an idiot. I am well aware of what we are getting into. That is what is truly wacko. You don’t think I have a brain to reason on my own. You need to know that I just simply choose to avoid most press mainly because it is manipulative and negative. I prefer to figure out things on my own. So please, give me my parental due respect to assess governmental issues on my own. Thanks.
I am paying bills right now so I need the money I loaned you back in my account for drafts due on the 1st. Can you get it to me now?
“You need to know that I just simply choose to avoid most press mainly because it is manipulative and negative. I prefer to figure out things on my own.”
That’s why you’ve arrived at flagrantly false conclusions about many things happening in the world around you, the health reform legislation included. You’re taking one of the core pillars of democracy, the free press, and replacing it in your mind with talking points fed to you by people far more manipulative than even the slimiest of reporters.
If this were a “takeover” of health care, insurance companies would be no more. But they’re very happy with this bill. Some progressives have even called it a “bailout” for the insurance companies, because soon we’ll all be compelled by the state to patronize them. Ask yourself: why is that? Can it truly be both ways? A “takeover” and a “bailout”? Regardless, costs for working families will go down while access to doctors will improve, and you’re upset? Why? Do you know a single specific item that’s in the legislation, or just that it’s thick so it must be bad?
You’re too eager to believe people who just want to scare you and make you easier to manipulate … And you’ve bitten down so hard you’re apparently even willing to believe your own son is lying to you about matters of great importance. You substitute reasonable, researched information for what? The words of your favorite pro-life congressman? A GOP newsletter? (I know you read that stuff.) How about all that corporate jingoism on the finance channel?
Please just read what I’ve written. I’m not lying to you.
And, uh, yeah I’ll get that money to you soon. Sorry. :O)
2 to 9.5 percent is a very broad range and it still hurts at 9.5 worse than before. No mention of what kind of deductibles and benefits. Well?? Who decides what percent??
Too bad we have to put all the costs on you too. I won’t have to live with the reprecussions [sic] for all the coming expenses. Guess what? Your grandparents and sister are on Medicare. That hurts them. Do you care? It will hurt me in 4 years.
Thanks American Socialists. So thoughtful to consider all the people and for the people…
You miss my point. I don’t listen to media that corrupts or manipulates my thinking. I have come to my own conclusions. Why can’t you believe me?
It’s not who, it’s how. The less money your household earns, the lower your premium cap will be. Many, many people pay much more than 9.5 percent of their income. For them, this is a huge relief.
And seriously, if you’re so scared of government regulating for-profit insurers, why so protective of Medicare? That’s a single payer, government run system and it’s the most effective, efficient method we’ve got for helping our fellow countrymen. Would you vote, like some Republicans, to repeal Medicare and throw all those senior citizens and disabled people out into the unregulated market? Or do you realize that a non-profit entity is better for paying medical costs than a for-profit corporation driven by greed, quarterly reports and earnings projections?
You are right to thank what you call “American socialists.” You know, like those commie pinkos at the police and fire dept, or those damn librarians? Yeah, thank God we don’t have to pay for crime insurance … I’m sure we would without at least a few pillars of socialism in our democracy.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill will cost over $940 billion over the next 10 years. However, over the next 20 years it is projected to REDUCE the deficit by over $144.2 billion thanks much in part to all the cost savings for the taxpayer not having to pay inflated medical costs for the uninsured. Not only that, the Bush tax cuts for America’s financial elite have expired. That bill slashed, according to economist Paul Krugman, $1.8 TRILLION between 2001-10. With that kind of dough, we could have all given ourselves the best quality care money can buy. But no, instead we went to war, and for seven years I was tormented by watching you cheer-lead for Bush and the big business agenda as Iraq and Afghanistan bled.
Meanwhile, the wars still rage, but those costs — financial and human, both much greater than the price of health care — somehow didn’t concern you … And these suddenly do? I love you mom, which is why I say you’re seriously lacking perspective here.
Being that I pay the bills by writing about this sort of thing, I feel embarrassed by your claimed understanding of current events, like I’ve failed somehow. I’m not trying to insult you: I’m trying to tell you the truth.
Truth is, your conclusions are not your own.
By ignoring journalism in the public interest, by ignoring credible, hard-working reporters in your own community, you hurt not only yourself but you hurt your country. Most of all, you hurt me, every time I hear you repeating a talking point I spent an hour knocking down just a week prior. Please turn off Fox News and CNBC. Get online and read. I’d be overjoyed to provide you with more sources of credible information.
The greater point is this: Like Noam Chomsky recently told one of my associates at Raw Story, this is a deeply flawed bill that retains the system’s core ills, but the immediate benefits make it far too compelling to pass up. I hope there will be significant revision of and improvements to this legislation over the next few years.
Until then, my scale of right or wrong is tuned toward one question above all else: Does the public ultimately benefit? In this case — for you, for me, for our family, our friends, their friends and their friends — the public good prevails. Our lives will be made better. It’s rare in our national history that a new president stakes it all on an agenda to benefit the public good. Be grateful for that, but know that this gift we’ve been given is still deeply flawed and room remains for significant improvement.
If you think things should change, get involved with community civics instead of just blindly voting for Republicans in November. Consider the virtues of abstaining from partisanship. Do a little research, not just before voting, but before making wild claims about something you know almost nothing of. Misinformation floats. Part of my job is to call it out. I’ll even help you find objective sources. They do exist.
I look forward to discussing with you topics more of greater specificity than scary big brother or socialism on the march. And I will get that money to you shortly. Promise. :O)