How to Argue with Republicans about Healthcare Legislation

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*This is an essay co-authored by Matt and Josh

There are a lot of opinions about whether Obamacare is good or bad and how Trumpcare would compare. Typically, these discussions focus on either anecdotes or moral platitudes. A story about a person who is worse or better off—a raised or lowered premium—or else the moral obligation to care for the underprivileged.

Anecdotes and morality have their place in debate, mainly they supply the emotions. But with powerful emotions always surrounding us we sometimes never discuss actual policy. And at some point you might suddenly realize what I recently realized: I hardly know anything about the proposed health care systems. And the bad news is it’s not really something I can just read up on in a few hours and have a grasp of everything. I tried. It’s huge and complicated.

So rather than offering another argument, I’m doing the opposite. I’m going to tell people how to argue with me. I don’t want another story. I just want to spend some time talking about actual policies and the theories behind them. When I’m done talking to you, I want to feel like I understand something about the healthcare system better than I did before. So if you want to convince me about your specific platform, here are eight points that matter to me as a conservative. Here’s where you’ll score winning blows:    Continue reading

Obamacare is just another lottery

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ELSIE is a woman who works three jobs, one at a law firm organizing documents, one at Coors Field taking tickets, and one at Sam’s club where she gives out more samples than any of the other employees. She’s got a loud southern voice with the slow, soft cadence of a natural storyteller. The last time she bought a lottery ticket was a month ago when the Power Ball reached a record high of 1.5 billion. She used to play once a week, but she was never up late enough to see the winning numbers on TV and so in the morning she would collect the paper from her porch and diligently ruffle through to see if she had won. She did win once, 40 dollars. And almost 200 another time, but her friend who she had sent to purchase the ticket with her lucky numbers never actually did. “If I had won the million, I could have killed him and no judge would condemn me,” she says dryly. “We laughed about it, that’s all.”

Buying a ticket has become a ritual of hope, like a prayer. “It’s nice to imagine,” she says. She thinks of who she would help if she got the money. She wouldn’t move, or change much about her own life. She plays because she likes to imagine giving it all away, all but a little for retirement. She would give some to her nieces and nephews, her co-workers, and she even said she would give some to me. Talking about it for a few minutes with me was enough to brighten her hopes, and she told me, as we were saying goodbye, “you know, I’m going to buy a ticket tomorrow.” Continue reading