For a nation with no qualms about telling the rest of the world how it should live, Americans seem to have a lot of trouble connecting causes and effects. We see them when they aren’t there, and don’t see them when they are. The latter is the subject of today’s diatribe.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) is about to come before the Supreme Court. Polls show the law is unpopular. Asking people how they feel about the individual provisions should show a wide band of dissatisfaction, right?
Pre-existing conditions can’t be held against you? Love it. Keep your kids on your insurance until they’re 26? Love it. Prescription benefits? Love it. Advances in maintaining medical records? Great idea. Better access to preventive care? Common sense.
Aside from amorphous conspiracy theories (European-style socialized medicine will corrupt your precious bodily fluids!), about the only thing people don’t like about the ACA is the individual mandate, which is necessary to keep younger, healthier people from cherry-picking their care. “You can’t make us have health insurance!” is the cry. “It’s a crumbling of our Constitutional liberties.”
What’s most interesting about this is those who are most hysterical about it have, in general, accepted the Patriot Act as an essential protection of the American Way of Life. These folks also have no issues with TSA requiring colonoscopies before allowing one to board an airplane. Americans insist on paying for their own invasive procedures, which is not the face I’d want to show the rest of the world.
Then there is government regulation. Ask any red-blooded American about government regulations and he’ll tell you they stymie business, cost jobs, and don’t do a damn bit of good.
Probe deeper and you’ll find this same person doesn’t want to have to do without food and drug inspectors, highway safety standards, environmental and workplace health rules, and on and on. Those are government regulations, folks, and the reason you like them is because the people those rules are intended to regulate will fuck you to death without them.
I could go on, but the point is made. Americans are perfectly happy to throw out a program that helps a thousand people because they heard someone gamed the system, even if they can’t prove that someone actually did what their buddy on the Internet (or Rush Limbaugh or Rick Santorum) said they did. Writers know never to let truth get in the way of a good story. The same rule should not apply to life decisions.