Draft #3

I've gone through two attempts at writing a post that attempts to communicate with those opponents of health care reform who are still open to some small level of rational thought. As you can imagine, it has gotten more frustrating with each draft because I'm left wondering how they justify what it is they're fighting for.

I tried writing a letter to Diane Campbell, a protester in New Hampshire who is convinced that health care reform means killing off the weak and becoming evil socialists. Part of what is triggering Diane's fear is the fact that her mother and sister are both receiving constant medical treatments which is currently being covered by Medicare (i.e. a government run health care program that is funded by taxpayers).

In my letter, I tried explaining that if she wanted to ditch socialized health care (i.e. Medicare), there would not be one single insurance company that would provide coverage for either her mom or her sister.

Not one.

OK... maybe one, but the premium would be so cost prohibitive that they wouldn't be able to afford the coverage. But as I was continuing my attempt to explain things, I eventually just stopped. I convinced myself there would be no getting through to her. So, I decided to change tactics.

Instead of explaining what she's fighting against, perhaps it might be more productive to highlight what she's fighting for. And so, I came across this interview on Rachel Maddow's show with Wendell Potter, Cigna's former head of public relations. Among other things, Wendell shed some light on why he decided to leave Cigna after 15 years:
The other thing that really made me make this final decision to leave the industry occurred when I was visiting family in Tennessee a couple of summers ago, and I picked up the local newspaper and saw a story about the health care expedition that was being held across the state line in Virginia, in the coal mining area in southwest of Virginia. So, out of curiosity, I just went up there to check it out and was absolutely dumbstruck when I went through the fairground gates. This is being held at the Wise County fairground.

And what I saw when I went inside the fairground's gates were hundreds and hundreds of people who were lined up, waiting in the rain, to get care that was being provided to them by volunteer doctors throughout the state of Virginia in animal stalls. Other volunteers had come previously to scrub down the animal stalls to make sure that they were sanitary enough for these doctors to treat people who otherwise couldn't get any care.
And then I got pissed off again, because I was at a loss as to how to effectively communicate that this scene that Wendell encountered is what people like Diane Campbell are actively fighting to maintain? How is it that all of the gun-toting and nazi-poster-displaying protesters feel pride at wanting to keep insurance companies rich while people in Virginia stand on lines to be treated by volunteer doctors in animal stalls?

As I give this more thought, my fundamental question goes beyond the health care debate. It's the win/lose mentality that our society fosters that makes this difficult. It seems to me they're just interested in winning, whereas I just want them to think and understand.

If anyone has any ideas on how to move forward as a country (or species), then fire away, because I sure don't.

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