"We don't like mandates": It's Time America Grew Up

Ever wonder why pollsters don't ask questions like "Providing health care for uninsured people costs you, on average, $1,100 a year on your health insurance premiums. Do you think it's a good idea to require everyone who can afford it to buy health insurance?" If they did, or if our news media did its job, perhaps we wouldn't see insanity like the following:


These are the numbers came out of the same poll - CBS - from the same exact sample. Either the American people are completely out of their wits to knowingly want to oppose a law that they also, err, support, or there is something that is not connecting the individual reforms contained in the law with the broader picture. What is it? Here is another chart that may help explain that stunning contradiction.


Kanter Media reported last week that on TV ads, the opponents of the president's health care law spent $3 to spread propaganda for every dollar proponents could spend telling the truth. So while you were watching propaganda ads like this:



You missed real life stories like these:



The number one reason why Americans are confused, misinformed and have not yet warmed to this law is, as we have seen above, the avalanche of right wing propaganda under which the facts and real life stories have been buried. But we can no longer pretend that a small part of the American character is not responsible for buying into this propaganda. We have a knee-jerk reaction against "entitlements", and against "government interference." To be sure, these feelings themselves have been nurtured by years of time and billions of dollars invested in Right wing propaganda machines.

We Americans are a peculiar bunch. In many ways, we are a teenage country. We want all the freedoms to do whatever we want, but we still want to be taken care of. We don't want to take responsibility to actually provide for the things we want as a country. We want the world's best health care, but we don't want to pay for it. We want the potholes filled and the bridges retrofitted, but we don't want to pay taxes that keep these things going. We want a big military, but we think the gun fairy pays for the wars. We are mad at "freeloaders" in the health care system who do not pay for their own insurance or care, but we will be damned if the government should mandate that those freeloaders - and the rest of us (with help where affordability is a problem) - get health insurance. We want our government benefits, but it's socialism when the benefit goes to them.

Well, it's time to grow up. It's time to stop being early teens when it comes to the future of our country. It's time we realized that if we want something as a country, we must pay for it as a country. It's time to figure out that we cannot have a health care system where patients and doctors are in charge, but so is your insurance company. We cannot brag the "world's best health care system" with a child mortality rate above the rest of the developed world. We cannot complain about 'freeloaders' and how they add to our insurance premiums if we're not willing to accept a requirement for everyone to get insurance. If we, as a society, are not willing to assist those who need help to insure themselves, it's time we gave up complaining about lines in the emergency room. We can no longer whine about the high costs of health care if we do not believe that our government has a distinct role in regulating the insurance companies in the public interest.

It's time that as a country, we left our teenage years behind and grew out of high school. It's time we learned to become adults. There are things we want as a country. As a country, we have made the decision not to let people die in emergency rooms because of their inability to pay for their care. As a country, we have made the decision that we will take care of our veterans, our seniors, our disabled, our children. As a country, we seem to also think that those who can afford something should not get a free ride. If we want all of these things, then we need the individual responsibility provision to ensure that our health care system is a fair one in which the cost of the most expensive way to care for the uninsured (emergency room visits) aren't passed onto those who have insurance. If we want a health care system that works for everybody, we better be willing to make sure that everyone - including each of our individual selves - plays our part and pays our fair share.

Because otherwise, we really need to come out as a country and say that we will decide the worth of a life by whether one is able to pay for care. It's time to be honest with ourselves. It's time to be adults.