What an interesting foray into politics the last few days have been! I'm currently in a medical anthropology class where I'm conducting a research project on people's views on healthcare and its reform. As a part of my research, I ventured over to a meeting of the Young Republicans "Meet the Candidates" night. I am very much a Democrat. The night began with speeches from those running in Utah for the Republican party. I listened to a speech from a lady who prides herself as a conservative woman who hates those evil feminists in government that have scared those good men into a corner (even though the feminist movement began with the women's suffragists who fought for a woman's right to vote which eventually led to a woman even being able to run for office...) I listened to references to those "global warming nuts," which gave me such warm fuzzies inside- all those world class scientist just MUST be nutty. I also listened to an entire speech devoted to the importance of gold... because that's right up there with healthcare, the economy, the war.... (insert sarcasm here). And finally... I heard references to healthcare - my purpose for the night, but very few. Healthcare is not a worry - and it is not something Republicans choose to address unless forced to by the Democrats.
In talking with people afterwards this is what I found out... People are against healthcare reform because we have "the best healthcare system in the world." (Actually, according the the World Health Organization we are ranked 37th... just behind Costa Rica.) And ultimately no one is going to die because they don't have insurance- there aren't piles of people dying outside emergency rooms (even though it is estimated that around 45,000 people die each year because they can't be covered - which is drastically higher than the amount of people who died on September 11, 2001). Also, we don't have the money to reform healthcare... even though it is estimated that the current healthcare bill will REDUCE the deficit - unlike the Bush Tax cuts which increased the deficit by TRILLIONS. There is a fear of what the picking order would be if healthcare were nationalized - not everyone can get treated... so a 22 year old will be treated long before a 60 year old would be... which is fine until the 60 year old is your mother. Ok... so yeah, it would suck if your mom couldn't get healthcare... but currently the poor don't have healthcare - so really... what's the difference? Other than being unable to use your riches to guarantee stellar care? Also, 90% of people in Utah are insured and happy with their care, so any type of reform would be hurting the majority who are already getting just what they need. To that I say... just hope you don't get a chronic disease. Yeah... I'm insured... and I love it when I get strep throat... but diagnose me with a chronic disease that could be termed "pre-existing" and my chances of switching or keeping my insurance goes down dramatically... and that's not cool. Oh yeah... and there's also that whole thing about how the government can't control anything efficiently (even the the US postal service, fire department, and police are pretty wicked awesome...)
So yeah... I don't have a solution to the problem... maybe you do... but something does need to change. Believing that US healthcare is awesome just means you've been ignorant and happy... and healthy.
I didn't outright disagree with people while talking with them (the purpose of the research is to get THEIR opinion- not start a debate, even though it was tempting...). But when asked outright, I did have to admit (with caution, for fear of being pounced on) that I was FOR reform. They wanted a specific example of why. (I shared the mother dear story about the brain surgery turned Epilepsy turned pre-existing condition and my parents' 10-year age difference that has my dad working well into the time he was planning on retiring so my mom can be covered...) This example actually led to someone admitting that my family's situation really did suck *gasp*. Maybe all you need to be convinced that we need reform is to talk to someone who has worked hard their whole lives, done everything right, then gotten sick and been screwed over by the system. Open up your ears politcos because my mother's story is a mild one...