Monday, October 15, 2012

Obamacare voters

The other day I told the story of a Republican mom in Florida who will be voting to re-elect the President because of Obamacare. In case you missed it, here's the story.
Jill Thacker was dying for a cup of coffee when she recently ran into a 7-Eleven convenience store. To her pleasant surprise, the coffee was free -- as long as she would commit to drinking it in either a red Mitt Romney cup or a blue Barack Obama cup.

"Which are you going to choose, Mom?" her son asked.

Which, indeed. A gun-owning, big-government-hating Republican, Thacker's every instinct told her to buy a Romney cup. But Thacker, 56, and her daughter have asthma -- a pre-existing condition -- and with Obama as president they'll be guaranteed the ability to buy insurance.

Thacker stood in the 7-Eleven and stared at the red and blue cups, stymied by the choice they represented...

She thought about her insurance, which covers her only if "I get hit by a bus." It's the only insurance she can afford given her preexisting condition.

She thought about how she's still paying off a $22,000 emergency room bill from last year.

She thought about her 25-year-old daughter, who's on her father's insurance only because of Obamacare.

But she also thought about how, in many fundamental ways, she just doesn't like Obama.

Then she reached for the blue cup with Obama's name on it.

"I really do feel conflicted," she said. "But for me, it's all about health care. It's my number one thing."
And now we hear from the other side of the political spectrum. Clancy Sigal would probably fit in that category of people I call "purists." He is a liberal who's been pretty pissed off at the President. But when Sigal's own life was on the line, he realized the importance of re-electing Obama/Biden.
For the past year, I've been in a death spiral without knowing it. The occasional fainting spell, sprawls on the street and a dramatic weight loss were shrugged off as merely a cost of doing a writer's business. Denial is a most powerful analgesic. Even when paramedics first rushed me to the hospital, I angrily argued with the doctors.

But when a lightning-bolt sciatica pain, triggered by a car accident, brought me down like a bull under the matador's sword, more or less paralyzing the left side of my body, the health gods decided it was time to shut down my hubris. Like something out of the TV's "House" or "General Hospital", suddenly there were midnight ambulances, emergency room traumas, drip feeds, oxygen tubes up my nose, renal failure, suspected meningitis, pneumonia and a minor heart attack...

I wasn't threatened with recission, but almost daily, and sometimes several times daily, my doctors were interrogated about practically every measure they took to keep me alive. Again and again, I saw caregivers, even the most skilled and courageous, retreat with an embarrassed, impotent shrug of resignation that said, "what can I do; it's 'the system'?"...

Need it be this way?...

Granted, that all depends on this upcoming election day. If Romney and Ryan win – the latest polls tell us this is a real possibility – they, a vengeful Republican Congress and their insurance lobby allies have sworn to sabotage healthcare-for-all. As for repeal and replace, Mitt's prescription for uninsured folks is that emergency room care is a good enough substitute...

Here and elsewhere, I have written bitterly attacking Obama's serial betrayals. He's no street-scrapper, our Barack. Prior to falling sick, I pined for a third-party candidate, and seriously thought about not voting. But a drug-induced vision of a Romney/Ryan medical hell changed my mind. On 6 November, I'm pulling the lever for Obama: my arrogant, self-sabotaging, drone-happy, compromise-addicted war president
Certainly many of us would find much to critique about the political positions of Ms. Thacker and Mr. Sigal. But on November 6th - they'll both be voting to re-elect President Obama. That might have been unthinkable in November 2010 when so many on both the left and right were assuming that Obamacare was a political disaster. What a difference two years makes! But it probably comes as no surprise to our President who held to his North Star of fixing this problem and always plays the long game.


  1. But it probably comes as no surprise to our President who held to his North Star of fixing this problem and always plays the long game.

    I feel like you slurp him really hard for what is ultimately pretty generic political strategy and intent.

    Fact: dozens of countries around the world have already passed universal health care going back many years/decades, and in every one of them has the conservative wing or party still gone on to win plenty of elections ever since.

    You are not witness to the reinvention of history. Revolution becomes the status quo, and its original circumstances forgotten nearly overnight.

    1. I agree with you that "revolution becomes the status quo."

      But I was addressing the hair-on-fire reaction from so many on both the left and right to the impact the passage of Obamacare had on the 2010 midterms. Lots of people came to the conclusion that spending so much political capital on health care reform was a colossal mistake. Perhaps it was in the short-term. But that's never been what drives the President.

    2. Slurp? That's a terrible way to speak.

  2. I think the second story about the purist gives us a clear idea just how deeply held are these petty false beliefs by these folks. It takes them literally being at death's door to 'compromise' enough to vote for the President. Seems to me like he is still suffering from hubris, but hey, every vote matters.

  3. I am disappointed most of the time by how self-interested, petty and small- minded so many voters seem to be to me! The nation is at risk, fellow citizens are hurting, children are dying arent they important?

    Do we have to teach DEMOCRACY every day? I guess so.