Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Fear is an extremely powerful thing. Fear of peer rejection; fear of failure; fear of loathsome disease; for many, fear of dying. It’s hard to top fear in the range of powerful emotions we feel. Years ago, at some marketing or branding seminar I attended, one of the speakers said fear sells. Fear is the new sex.
Fear motivates; fear purifies. Fear can drive us to take action. Fear is what radio windbags like El Rushbo and Gruppenfuhrer Beck sell. Fear works. Fear, fear, fear. The advertising paradigm used to be “buy this vacuum cleaner (washing machine/mixmaster/household convenience) and it will add years to your life”; now, it’s “have your doctor prescribe this drug for you or you will become very ill and die.”
Opponents to health insurance reform have some of the best fear-mongering slogan-makers around, and the talking-point “GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER OF HEALTHCARE” was one of their finest products. It stuck like glue and got repeated by all media. And yet – here we are, only a full day into the “takeover” – and the system, as yet unreformed, remains remarkably operable. Certainly, the calamity is about to descend.
Remember when Medicare was RAMMED DOWN OUR THROATS? Oh, wait – a Republican or two actually supported Medicare. Anyway, Medicare processed a billion claims last year, and somehow, it still seems to work. My mom gets her health care covered, and the gubbmint keeps payin’ the bills.
On the NBC Nightly News last night, a brief video clip of an elderly gentleman, obviously distraught, carrying a sign that said “keep government out of my life”. Fear. Yah, keep government out of my life - except for my Social Security. And my Medicare. And my VA Hospital. And my mail delivery. And my police department. And my fire department. And on and on. Keep government out of my life. Fear.
The insurance industry hired the services of six lobbyists for every member of congress and spent a significant amount of its shareholders’ potential profits to put FEAR into the politicians; yet, Sunday night, it passed. Not a single Republican voted for it, so the lobbyists’ bills will be paid.
My adult children will be able to get health insurance when they change jobs; pre-existing condition clauses won’t dog them like they did me; they won’t have “lifetime caps” to worry about like I did, after five kidney operations in 2000 and 2001, hip replacement in 2001 (thank you again, Dr. John Rogerson), specialized vocal cord surgery to restore my voice 5 years ago (thank you again, Dr. Charles Ford); and my mom will live to see the “donut hole” disappear in her Medicare coverage.
Hell, this stuff doesn’t scare me. I must be one of those blithe Madison liberals, I guess. I can’t wait for ALL of it to kick in. And don’t even talk to me about what it costs…not until this nation stops spending money it doesn’t have to prosecute bogus foreign wars and bail out businesses “too big to fail”.
Yes, everything does have a price. This is one bill I’ll gladly pay.
Posted by Tim Morrissey at 5:56 AM