Oct 042013

p33100721380826968I’ve noticed an incredible seachange in just the last 48 hours in my little corner of the world.  Living in a red state, I hear and see  the ongoing hatred and rhetoric about our President, Congress and the Affordable Care Act on a daily basis.

Today I had three errands, and at each place, people talked near me about the Affordable Care Act.

But, the discussion has changed dramatically from Monday.

Waiting in line  I stood behind a woman about my age. She was talking loudly into her iPhone (I wasn’t close enough to discern what version it was, but I could see the Apple.)

She complained to the person on the phone that a family  member was having difficulty logging into Indiana’s Health Care Exchange.

I don’t know this person, but I have encountered a hundred like her in the last few months. I’ve worked in health care for more than 30 years, so people have always talked with me about their personal situations. And because I’m interested, I listen overtly and covertly.

Imagine that you want the new iPhone.  Apple has been telling you about it for months.

Apple was overwhelmed with the demand.  Seems everyone else wants it also, and your Apple store has a line that goes around the corner.

What do you do?  Do you stomp your foot in absolute rage and wish there was no iPhone?

I don’t think so.  What was horrible is now highly desired by the numbers of people who are signing up.

It reminds me of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. I don’t know anybody who likes the BMV (except the mothers of those who work there), but somehow it all works out.  And has improved in recent years with electronic signage and computers.

It is wonderful that millions of people now have access to affordable healthcare.  It will be wonderful when the 26 states holding the near-poor hostage without a Medicaid expansion (including our dear Hoosier state) let go of the reigns and invite the working poor in.

Let’s not throw out the baby with the baby water.  We’ve come too far.

Haters:  here’s your red herring for the day.  Many of the same problems happened when Social Security and Medicare came in.

Social Security and Medicare are not perfect. But think about what old age would look like in our country without them.

In August I spent hours reading the New York Times and the Washington Post newspapers from 1964 and 1965.  Everything old IS new again; here’s the link to my article.   When I have the time, I’m going to jump into those dusty, virtual newspaper pages again and look at the time around Social Security implementation.

This was originally published on Open Salon on October 3, 2013.

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