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David Vines Headshot

The Healthcare Goldfish

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For better or for worse (probably the latter) Rush Limbaugh manages to garner a lot of press from the so-called "liberal media" thanks to the hate and incoherent venom he spews every day on his talk radio program. Over the last few days I have made a pledge to spend at least a few minutes a day listening to him while at work. I do so because I truly want to better understand the collective conservative mindset that still resonates throughout this country.

Now, pardon me if I'm feeding the troll so to speak, but something came up on his program yesterday that I feel the need to specifically address.

A caller from Iowa was on the line speaking with Rush about healthcare reform, which, predictably, our Hawkeye friend was strongly against. The gist of his argument was that if healthcare in this country is so bad, then why are people going to be allowed to keep their insurance under Obama's new plan? Thus he concluded that healthcare is fine the way it is and doesn't have to be altered at all.

Rush loved it, wondered why he had not thought of that himself, and gave the caller a nice big metaphorical pat on the back before moving on -- which, by the way, consisted of spending a full hour comparing our president to Hitler, but that is beside the point.

What that caller said captured the conservative point of view perfectly. Who cares that nearly fifty million Americans don't have health insurance? Since I have insurance and I will be able to keep my doctor, everything is just fine the way it is. So why change?

Fifty million people are quite a lot to just brush under the rug. Especially when the vast majority of those people either cannot, by any means, afford health insurance, or are in need of treatment but have lost their coverage thanks to the inhumane greed of private insurance companies. Covering them, those people less fortunate than us, seems like a pretty damn good reason on its own to reform our nation's healthcare policy.

The reason President Obama is letting people keep their health insurance if they so wish is two-fold. First, no matter what our friend Rush might think, this is still a capitalist country and it would admittedly not be right for the president to mandate the complete removal of private health insurance companies, even considering the destructive way in which they currently do business.

But the second reason is so people like our caller, people who are irrationally terrified of any kind of change, can get acclimated to the new system. This is much like the way one keeps a goldfish inside its plastic bag and immerses that bag in a fish bowl when the fish is first brought home. This way it can get used to the conditions and temperature in its different, seemingly scary new world.

In the end, once a healthcare bill is passed, our Hawkeye friend should eventually come to realize that this new world in which he gets to pay lower healthcare premiums is pretty nice and not quite as scary as he once thought it was. And he'll live happily ever after.

... Or he'll stick with his private insurer and when he's diagnosed with a bad case of hypothermia, he'll lose his coverage and just get flushed down the toilet.

The choice is his.