Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"You Can't Have Government-Run Health Care"

As a followup to my previous post, I just wanted to note how Congressman Where'sMyHealthcare's description of the Healthcare law is entirely in keeping with what I suspected.  It's not that he thinks it's great healthcare that he wants to deny to others.  It's that he thinks it's lousy healthcare that will only make things worse for everyone.

As Think Progress notes:
On his campaign website, Harris explains, “[a]s a physician, I know that our health insurance system is in need of repair. However, the answer to the ever-rising cost of insurance is not the expansion of government-run or government-mandated insurance but, instead, common-sense market based solutions that ensure decisions are made by patients and their doctors.”

During an event at the Cecil County Patriots Candidate Forum in February 2010, Harris claimed “there is no constitutionality mandated role for the federal government in health care,” and criticized Medicare and Medicaid. Turning his attention to the health care reform legislation then moving through Congress, he described the public option as “a terrible idea,” adding, “you can’t have government-run health care, it’s just not right.” In July of 2009, Harris also appeared on Fox Business and warned viewers that if health reform passes, “we’ll look like Canada and England.” “Americans are not going to tolerate a bureaucrat making a decision for their families medicare care,” he said.
And yes, he was railing against "government-run healthcare," which he's now embracing.  But that's because he's assuming, correctly, that Congressmen healthcare is great and doesn't let government bureaucrats get between patients and doctors.  And the reason he was against "Obamacare" is because he somehow imagines it does.

And so the problem here isn't that he doesn't want people to have healthcare, because he obviously does.  The problem is that he's too ignorant to even know what it is that he's attacking.  He's been told that government bureaucrats will be making medical decisions for us and he's simply repeating what he's been told.  And while I'm sure he feels like a complete idiot at this point for having bitched about not getting his government healthcare soon enough, it's quite unlikely he'll understand why.  He knows that he wants good healthcare for everyone, he just doesn't know that Obama is getting it for us.

My only hope in all this is that when Republicans finally turn to look at the healthcare law to see which parts they want to repeal, they'll finally see what it is and quit attacking it.  Hell, if they just focus all their energies looking to repeal the part where government bureaucrats make medical decisions, maybe they'll never have time for anything else.  We can only hope.


John of the Dead said...

So the choice we're left with is, "Ignorant or evil?" Man, I hate it when our Congresscritters are either one of those. The most charitable reading is, as, you say, "ignorant." But that doesn't really fill me with confidence. I mean, this guy will make laws. You'd expect him to understand the law. And at this point, if he's ignorant about it, it's blatant, willful ignorance. Which, to me, is "evil." So the point is kinda moot, and the outcome is the same.

Doctor Biobrain said...

But John, you haven't read the law any more than I have or he has. We're all just trusting the people who tell us things. The problem is that we trust the people who are telling the truth and he's trusting the people who are lying. And he's thinking the same thing about us.

I mean, if Rush Limbaugh started telling the truth about something horrible Obama was doing, at what point would you start listening to him? Never. You would never trust what Limbaugh was telling you and until someone you trusted started saying that Limbaugh was right, you wouldn't even bother listening to him. And even then, you'd start doubting the person you trusted rather than believing Limbaugh.

It's the same way with them. They trust Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and these other people. They have no other context not to. Everything they say adds up, and whenever they talk to liberals, they're attacked for being evil. And since he knows he isn't evil, but rather, wants everyone to have good healthcare, nothing we say makes any sense to him. He thinks we're as ignorant as we know he is.

Again, if Limbaugh started telling the truth and everyone on our side started lying to you, how would you even know?

John of the Dead said...

But here's the key difference - I'm a nerd on the internet. This guy is a lawmaker. There's a different threshold. You expect nuclear physicists to have a better grasp of nuclear physics than internet nerds. You expect lawmakers to have a firm grasp of law.

Furthermore, this guy doesn't have a firm grasp of the realities that most Americans face. He's shocked, SHOCKED! that he doesn't get full access to his benefits immediately. Meanwhile, most folks don't get health insurance for some number of days - usually beginning the next pay period after hire; in some cases, there's an even greater waiting period. I'd wager that's a significant fraction of what's sticking in most folks' craws - the sense of entitlement, after demonizing entitlements.

Let's expand your train of thought to the question of Barack Obama's citizenship. Now, I'm pretty sure he's a natural-born US citizen. But if someone "trusts" Orly Taitz, then he's a Kenyan usurper. This flies in the face of demonstrable, verifiable facts. Would you accord the same lenience to a birther? Or a 9/11 conspiracy theorist? "Oh, they're just ignorant of the facts, and we can persuade them through logic." Well, no, I'm afraid we can't. In fact, quite often exposure to demonstrable facts that run counter to your preconceived notions have the opposite effect - they make you cling more tightly to your delusions:


Now, it seems the best way to dislodge bad "facts" is through flattery - increased self-esteem leaves one more open to considering new ideas. So, is getting angry at someone who's demonstrably wrong effective? No, it probably won't change their mind. But neither will trying to educate them. We have a case of willful ignorance, which in my opinion is the same thing as evil.

Doctor Biobrain said...

But John, he's NOT a lawmaker. He's an anesthesiologist who happened to get elected because he's a doctor who told the Crazies what they wanted to hear about healthcare.

And if anything, a nerd on the internet has a MUCH better chance of knowing the truth than a Tea Partying doctor running for Congress. That's one of the big problems with our system, as it's not like someone running for office has all the time in the world to research this stuff. They're in meetings, having political discussions, and raising the all-precious fundraising dollar. When do they have time for research? That's what their staffs are for.

And yes, I DO forgive birthers for their ignorance. They've been told by people they trust that Obama still hasn't produced a proper birth certificate and nothing can persuade them otherwise. Where are they supposed to get educated from when they've been trained not to listen to us? It's the same way with bigots. I don't blame people for their own ignorance, as even willful ignorance is caused by ignorance.

And frankly, I find the idea of "evil" to be absurd. Even the jerks who invent these lies for their own personal gain aren't evil. They're just behaving as they think we're all behaving, and think they're better at it. That's the way most people are. Nobody wants to be bad. They just don't know any better. And if they did, they wouldn't do what they do. Education is the only answer.

John of the Dead said...

But as I pointed out, education doesn't work. So where does that leave us?

Doctor Biobrain said...

Calling them evil?

John of the Dead said...

Well, that makes *me* feel better :-) And there's some evidence that shaming people does work, at least on those capable of feeling shame.

Doctor Biobrain said...

But calling someone evil doesn't shame them. Generally, if you insult someone without them understanding why they were wrong, they'll get defensive and be LESS likely to be shamed for what they did. Educating them is the first step, while attacking them only makes them less likely to listen.

And worst case scenario, nothing works. But at least trying to educate them has a chance of working. Labeling them as evil is only for our personal enjoyment and does nothing to solve the problem.

Beyond that, as much fun as it is to label our enemies as "evil," it really is just ignorance. There is no "willful ignorance," as the only reason someone would be willfully ignorant is because they're ignorant. Anyone who doesn't want to know the truth is too stupid to handle it.