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I have found a way to quickly and effectively muzzle critics of health insurance reform.  I’ve used it in conversations, email exchanges with conservative friends and family, Facebook threads, you name it.  It hasn’t let me down yet.  You can use it too.  I’d like to hear if you enjoy the same magical results.

It’s easy to stand in a room and shout "No".  It’s easy to be a critic.  What’s hard is having a solution to a problem.  The other side has none.  Expose that fact—put them in the position of enumerating a solution to a clear problem, and the silence is deafening.

So here’s what I say to them: "I’m in business for myself, so I have to pay for my family’s health insurance out of my own pocket.  I spend $1,100 a month to do that.  I have a son with a pre-existing condition.  So any application to another health insurance company is automatically rejected.  That means we’re stuck with our current insurance company.  If they want to jack the premium to $4,000 a month to get us to quit, they could.  So my question is, what plan do you have that provide my family an affordable alternative?"

Crickets Crickets Crickets

If you’re out to stop the discussion cold, mission accomplished.  Or you can press them for an answer relentlessly until you’ve embarrassed them appropriately.  It just depends how much they’ve been spouting off.

Now, I know you may not have a story like this on your own.  So instead, make it the story of "a friend".  I’m happy to be your friend.  However, this problem is so pervasive I suspect most of you really do know a family in a similar predicament.

They’ve succeeded at putting us on the defensive, because we are assuming the role of problem solver.  Put them in that same position, and reap the rewards.  They are, after all, sound and fury, signifying nothing.

May I also add a quick challenge to any investigative reporters out there, from a former one myself?  How great would it be to infiltrate the town hall hooligans posing as one of the mob and capture the real workings there?  You could find out who the real organizers are-- how they get shipped in from outside of districts, what training they receive, and most important where the money's coming from?  I'm just saying is all...

Originally posted to back2you on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 06:54 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unfortunately, at the townhalls (4+ / 0-)

    people with stories like yours are not allowed to speak but are shouted down with insults. At some point, there is going to have to be an accounting for such behavior. We have seen protesters on other topics such as the war not given the latitude given the Teabaggers so it is incumbent on those responsible for security at these events stress to local authorities to exercise close crowd control (which many officers are not trained to do)

    Otherwise, I wouldn't be surprised to see a crowd sprayed by bullets or an official assassinated by some of these fringe elements    

  •  It's hard to respond to well thought out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PKinTexas, soms

    questions like that one.  The people who are so terrified of a change in the health care system don't seem to know what do do about specific cases.

  •  I think we all need to talk. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PKinTexas, Fury, DarkestHour, codairem

    This plan needs a lot of work.  A lot of the protesters hate this plan, not health care reform in general.

    A friend of mine, a JD/MBA/LLM Health Lawyer who is your basic Center Left guy, called this plan "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic."

    Maybe something useful can come out of this, if we actually listen to each other.  

    •  At this point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkestHour, codairem, John Minehan

      At this point in the process, who can even say what the hell the plan is?

      •  Boy, is that part of the problem. (0+ / 0-)

        Some of the real issues (the "HMOnly style," the fact that people can be forced out of current plans) seem to be drafting problems or rough edges that need to be sanded down, but it hurts public perceptions.

    •  What they THINK this plan is... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fury, soms, IreGyre, John Minehan

      doesn't actually bear any resemblance to reality. They rail against socialist single payer when there's no such thing in sight. I see older people who are on Medicare railing against a government option. Fine let them give up their Medicare and submit to the underwriting they'll require to get an individual policy like I did from their beloved insurance companies. Medicare for All or Medicare for None will be my mantra when talking to those idiots.

      Just another socialist fuckstick!

      by Ian S on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:22:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  About a week ago, my husband sent an email to (6+ / 0-)

      his entire list, made up of both righties and lefties, asking for a sane, respectful discussion on health care reform.  The results have been amazing! With ground rules of no insults, no raging and respect for all, and with the exception of one rightie hissy fit, we have been able to really discuss the issue. The concensus, even among a group of insurance agents is not if but how.  Back2you I will use your story this morning and see what happens.  We've been so encouraged with this "dialog" that we're considering starting a right/left blog.  Surely, devout leftie that I am, there are a few things we could agree on to move this country forward!

  •  Who needs gubmint heathcare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when you got Tussin and windex?  They cure everything.

    Some people are just born stupid, that ain't their fault.  It's the ignorant types that should be sent to Pluto.

    Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. Addams Family credo

    by mydailydrunk on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:06:16 AM PDT

  •  As to money, it does not seem to be a (0+ / 0-)

    factor, for either the Obama for America folks I worked with on the National Health Care Day of Service events in June or folks I know in the Liberty movement who are attending town halls.

    On both sides, it seems to be decent people meeting in Library conference rooms and Church basements.

    Good on all of them I say.  

  •  So far I've been able to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, snazzzybird, codairem

    stop some of it with the statement that I have a pre-existing condition (true--I'm also fifty-something btw).  I really don't need to go beyond that.  While I do have health insurance through my husband's employ I understand fully that it could go at any moment.

    They may not be pretty, but they sure can be tasty--August is National Catfish Month

    by Powered Grace on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:08:36 AM PDT

  •  Like you I have a story as do millions (6+ / 0-)

    I will try your approach but unfortunately the knuckle draggers out there don';t actually want to listen to reason or have a discussion.

    My wife and I are self employed and spend about $1,200 a month for the two of us with Blue Cross of Georgia (as an aside we have friends who have the exact same policy with their employer and for a family of 4 spend $283 per month). Neither of us is very sick just the normal anomalies of a 50 and 43 year old. We cannot change because no one will take you if you have even had a cold. But the $1,200 is just the beginning of the story.

    Total Annual Medical expenses for 2 people:

    Insurance -   $14,400
    Deductible -  $ 1,000
    Medications - $ 3,600
    Co-Pays -     $ 1,000
    Dental -      $ 3,500

    Total Annual - $23,500

    There is something major wrong in this country!

    •  Wouldn't it be better if (0+ / 0-)

      you had a tax deduction or credit?  Wouldn't it be better if you could join a Plan and get a Group discount and pre-existing condition protection?  Seems like that would work better than what has been proposed.  

      •  Taxes (5+ / 0-)

        They would already get a tax deduction on the premiums, and the other misc medical expenses are also deductible, subject to 7.5% of their AGI (if they itemize).  Depending on their tax bracket, that could mean a benefit of 10% of the outlay, 15%, etc.

        Tax credits are worthless unless you have a tax liability.  Many people without insurance may not have a tax liability, in which case their credit would be zero.  Unless the credit is refundable.

        I'm just saying.  Lower premiums would be far better than any kind of tax break

      •  If only I could (3+ / 0-)

        This is one of the major problems. There is no plan to join, we have a small group of 2 and there is not a larger group to join.

        Over the last 2 years we have tried applying to 6 different companies and no one will take us unless we want to exclude pre-existing!

        As I mentioned neither one of us has anything that is very serious.

        Personally I would like single payer and have the type of quality care for 100% of Americans that the rest of the world enjoys.

        BTW - THE US DOES NOT HAVE THE BEST HEALTHCARE IN THE WORLD. I wish the crazies would stop saying that and I would love to have one reporter challenge that statement with a simple question.

        "By what statistical measure do you arrive at that conclusion?"

  •  Great idea!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, Clio2, soms

    It would be great to have a "fly on the wall" listening to the teabaggers.  BTW they don't like being called "teabaggers".  I say, if the shoe fits......

    Watch what you say, they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, Oh fanatical criminal...

    by minerva1157 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:20:01 AM PDT

  •  Agree that this is effective... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, codairem, soms

    but unfortunately, "silencing" them is about as far as it gets, in my experience.  That's a good first step, because when it's all brought down to the individual level, with anecdotes such as yours (mine are similar and perhaps even a bit more extreme), one can find some genuine understanding, partly because most intelligent people know they may find themselves in similar straits.

    But my experience has been that the response is something like, "well, you work hard and that's unfair, but I don't want to pay for all the deadbeats who won't work."

    Or, "I support healthcare for the elderly and for children--that's it.  Everyone else can take care of themselves if they're working."

    Or, "But inefficient big government isn't the answer.  It's simply never as good as the private sector." There is a large slice of thinking people out there who simply won't accept that the government can do anything right, and that as outrageous as our healthcare system is, it's just one of those things in life that's unfair, and isn't it a pity that we're stuck with such a system?

    When you respond by saying that Medicare and Social Security and the Postal Service (not entirely government, I know) have proven to be quite efficient and well run, they scoff and wonder what planet you're living on, having been convinced over the decades that none of those things are true.  Same with their talking points about the Canadian system, etc.

    All of that said, I think anecdotes such as yours, and worse ones involving rescission, are exactly what the public discussion needs more of. Changing a few more minds in the middle can make the difference.  Reagan's anecdote about the welfare queen driving a Cadillac is an image still very much alive in the Conservative mind, and is still used as an excuse for doing nothing.  I continue to be amazed at the power of that imagery.  When it comes to healthcare, we need equally potent imagery to overcome the amazingly persistent indifference one still finds.

    •  Indifference. It's been so disheartening to be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird, tcdup, soms

      met with that.  Indifference to other's suffering, from the so-called christians.  They never cease to disgust and sadden me. One can see how the atrocities of the past were able to be perpetrated, while the public turned their backs.

    •  Remember That Republicans Insist That Government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      has absolutely no legal business "to promote the general Welfare."

      They'll tell you flat-out as they have for generations that government is not chartered even to think about "society" or general welfare or helping people with anything, etc.

      You can't shame them on this point, period end of sentence.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:42:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are few investigative reporters left, (0+ / 0-)

    as far as I can see.  Why aren't the MSM asking republicans over and over again if they AGREE with what is going on in these town halls?  Do they condone it?  Do they condone Rush and Glenn egging the less intelligent of the world on to commit violent acts?  If not, then condemn it here and now!

    Oh, and good comeback to your conservative friends and family.

  •  Oh, reality. How inconvenient. (0+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, while you are silencing Republicans in your presence, it's doubtful you are actually changing their minds. Reality has never stopped them from Being R's.

    But thanks for the tip; I will use it.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify their fraudulent invasion of Iraq.

    by Words In Action on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:49:03 AM PDT

  •  my husband's solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    he runs into these crazy wingnuts in his job - and twice they have told him THEY don't have trouble with their healthcare and THEY don't want it changed.  And he asks them how much of an increase did they encounter last year and the year before.  The answer typically is at least 10% or 15%.

    He is really good at math so he multiplies their answer by 5 in head and tells them what their premiums will be in 5 years if nothing is done - usually they drop the subject -

    The problem with the people in his opinion is that if THEY aren't having a problem then there is no problem
    They apparently cannot see the trend that indicates it is going to be a problem for everyone shortly unless they are so rich a 60 % increase in premiums doesn't constitute a problem but for most people including these working people > that is a problem.

  •  our story (0+ / 0-)

    We had to break up our health insurance at the beginning of 2008 because we could not afford the premiums.  There are four of us.

    The adults are both fortunately employed.  His job has insurance but FOR HIM ALONE it went from $200 a month to $525 a month in one year- or 18% of his take home pay - and he is not able to be carried on individual coverage due to pre-existing conditions.  My job covers me but the family coverage is $700+ a month.

    I had tried to carry the family in 2007 but it was crushing with copays and deductibles > it was 23,000 and they didn't pay any bills - everything including tests and emergency care was "not covered".

    The twins turned 18 and we moved them off to individual policies and I am left on my employer - doesn't cost much but doesn't covers squat

    My husband is uncovered

    Do they have a suggestion for us.  I hear the company insurance is great but it is unaffordable at $525 for an individual

    we got the insurance bills down to $300 a month but not everyone is covered.  No dental and no vision care

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