In Part II of my “Talkin’ with Teabaggers” adventure, I chat with an elderly gentleman protesting last Thursday’s pro-healthcare reform rally (you know, the one that never happened). No snarky subtitles or silly inserts this time, just a few minutes of unedited conversation about healthcare, and why us whippersnappers don’t need or deserve it.
In what has become an ironic cliche that typifies the inanity of the current healthcare reform debate, this eighty-ish-year-old man may be opposed to government run health insurance, but he sure does love him some Medicare. When asked if he’s happy with Medicare he says “yes.” When asked if he’d want it taken away, he says “no.” When asked if the government has done an “okay job” running Medicare, he says “As far as I’m concerned, it’s been okay with us.”
In fact, his high degree of satisfaction with his government-run Medicare seems to form the basis for his opposition to any plan that might include a government-run public option for the rest of us. “Why mess it up for old people?” he asked me.
Good question. Perhaps we should give up on this “public option” thing and just allow everybody to buy into Medicare, regardless of age? I know he thinks young folks don’t need it (hell, he didn’t have health insurance until he was 40, so why should anybody else?) but if that’s true then they’d sure be cheap to insure. Meanwhile, they’d still be subsidizing his Medicare coverage through their payroll taxes, just like they’re doing now, so how could that possibly mess anything up for him?
Yeah, sure… under that scenario, Medicare would be the public option. But shhhh, don’t call it that, and we might get his support.