So here’s this thing that I do because I’m kind of an a**hole, but I’m also kind of funny. Whenever either one of my older nieces tells me about something she likes, I’ll explain to them that that’s not how that thing works. They’ll respond that actually I have it wrong, and then painstakingly explain why it is that I’m wrong about the thing that they have this knowledge about. I can usually get them to explain the thing for at least twelve minutes before they get exasperated and shout, “You’re doing that thing again!” At which point I make them explain in great detail what that thing is that I’m doing. I have no idea why they like me.
The real point of this that while I greatly appreciate Last Week Tonight’s attempt to respond to arguments raised against Medicare for All and other forms of universal healthcare, this fact-based, detailed explanation of the disadvantages of our current system and the possible advantages of a Medicare for All model is not going to work. The GOP isn’t interested in listening to reasonable arguments because, in this analogy, they’re your sh*tty aunt who’s just amusing herself at your expense.
Now, I feel like I could say “this is capitalism’s fault” and that’d be a pretty satisfactory answer, but it’s actually more insidious than that. The real answer is wrapped up in the fact that Oliver keeps explaining that he’s not planning to address the issue of how politically viable a plan like Medicare for All is, because it’s bizarre that Medicare for All isn’t more popular. It’s wild that everyone in the country has a horror story about a time that their health insurance failed them, and people are still wary about switching to a system that most of the country supports in theory. A system that, if we’re to believe other countries (countries who currently have universal healthcare, but who seem to be actively destroying it from the inside out. Systems that — according to Comrade Knava — “will be gone in a few decades. Barring a government fully reversing what’s happening, it’s kaput.”), and would ultimately cost less and with which we would be more pleased. Someone is actively trying to give us something that is cheaper and better, and way too many people are looking at Elizabeth Warren’s plan (when the media isn’t actively erasing her from the conversatiom. Yeah, I’m looking at you too, John. You didn’t have to focus only on Bernie’s plan. There’s a whole other person who is also campaigning on a Medicare for All plan) and saying “Oh, we better be careful with this.”
It’s not even Independents and Conservatives who are concerned. I was at dinner with a lefter-than-moderate-but-not-quite-progressive Democrat (a Chicago Democrat for short) a few months ago. We were discussing the primary, and I said I’m a Warren E Regulator (I actually said I support Elizabeth Warren because this woman is the mother of a friend of mine and I was trying to not be off-putting). She said that she believes that all of Warren’s positions are ideally what she’d like to have, but that they’re impossible to implement because businesses will just keep all of the savings from not supplying health insurance to employees anymore. That isn’t a bad point. Presumably, there would be a way to modify the tax laws so that employers wouldn’t be able to do that, but that only raises the question of the political viability of changing the tax law to force corporations to pay their fair share. We couldn’t actively change the tax code because those same corporations would work around it by paying their employees even less. We can’t address that problem by either levying additional taxes against corporations that won’t pay their employees a livable wage or by increasing the minimum wage because that would result in even more people losing their jobs and we can’t address that problem through additional social services, including supplementing livable wages and offering more affordable housing, because THIS IS AMERICA AND IF YOU WORK HARD AT ANY NUMBER OF THE GREAT JOBS THAT OUR CORPORATE OVERLORDS HAVE BLESSED US WITH THEN YOU WILL BECOME A BILLIONAIRE. EAT YOUR SH*T SANDWICH WITH GUAC BECAUSE THE OTHER OPTION IS THAT WE KEEP YOUR SH*T SANDWICH AND YOU STARVE.
So, yes, the short answer is capitalism, but luckily it’s keeping the ALL CAPS shouting posts in business.
Header Image Source: HBO