Today I watched several fellow writers complain that the Trump Health Care Act (is that the official title?) is going to do severe damage to them as writers. In other words, they won’t have as good of health care under it as they perceive under Obamacare. I am confused by this. How do they know? How does anyone know the impact? Has anyone read it? We know no one doing the voting read it before voting on it. The GOP has picked up what Nancy Pelosi laid down the time they passed Obamacare. They had to pass it to see what’s in it.
So my first thought was to jump in and give a “well, what gives you the right to have chosen a risky career to now demand your neighbors fill in your gaps?” I was tempted to tweet, tweety-eet, “You chose the path of a writer. Why should any of us be forced to subsidize your hobby?”
Let’s face it. It takes a lot. A whole lot to call writing a career. Most of us do it because we like to, it’s a hobby. Or we write but in a professional capacity, such as, text books, paid journalism or legal or whatever. We do this while we work on that play, novel and essay. And this is the rub: They were complaining they can’t afford health care due to their choice of how they spend their day (or night). They screamed, “I wanna stay at home or in a coffee shop and tell a story! And I might get sick while doing it and…”
Wait, let’s back up…
Let’s say you churn out several paintings a month. And let’s say you attend several art shows to display and sell them. And let’s say you sell one for two-hundred-and-fifty dollars. That’s your salary for the month Two-hundred-and-fifty dollars. That was your choice. What else did you do with your time? What other ways did you attempt to market yourself to feed yourself and family, provide shelter, necessities or life and otherwise? If all you did was paint, you earned what you got.
Okay, enough of that. Really, although all that is true, it doesn’t get anyone to come to the free market side of health care. So I didn’t tweet tweety-eet any of that…although it’s true.
The point of this post is that telling people they did this to themselves does not sell them on any idea. In fact, pointing blame and saying deal with it, pushes people away from you no matter how right you may be. The best approach is to spend today and the next few weeks, quite frankly, listening to and reading those having a hard time securing health care. Find out what their main fear is. Then address that very specific fear. Show them how taking government out of health care will give them a better chance of achieving what they want. (I’m defending a free market health care option here, not TrumpCare. I have no idea what that is. I haven’t read it. Neither have you).
Here’s a better way of selling free market health care. It involves sympathy and understanding everyone wants the same thing: quality, affordable health care.
I say, “I have a condition too. I have this and that. I’m hoping my kids can find adequate care at affordable prices as well. Yeah, I hear you. That heart valve defect is awful. And you know what? I have an idea on how to fix all this without a government program and get us both good care and deals. Wanna hear about it?
If they don’t, move on to the next subject. Stop there. Go on to sports or Dancing With the Stars or anything else. You won’t reach everyone. What you’re looking for is the fence sitters. The fence sitters will wanna hear about it.
And say, “I can’t wait until I can negotiate a price for the medicines and services from doctors just like I do for just about everything else in life. I can’t wait until I have a selection of medical services, just like a selection of grocery stores and otherwise, that do their best to offer me the best at the lowest cost. We can get there but we have to get government out.”
If they’re still with you, you may proceed with good arguments for a free market health care system.
Sometimes you won’t even have to give a speech like my quotes above. Sometimes just being a listening ear is enough for someone to open the door to your ideas. Maybe letting them vent and letting them breath out and then you replying, “I hear ya, want another beer?” and never offering a solution until the next time is enough for them to welcome a next time. Maybe it will take months or years to convert. But you can be that pry bar in the door. That’s your only job for starters. Until then, listen.
What is the most likely reason a politician get votes? Is it because they have great ideas? Nope. I could write a doctoral thesis on how politics are made over feelz vs realz. You usually can’t reason someone into a position they didn’t use reason to get into. So, nope. Politicians don’t have to have great ideas. In fact, listen to them campaign. Never any solutions, only memes and slogans that sound great. No meat at all.
They get elected because they’re likable. Child development studies show that a child will want to be like her parents if she likes her parents. And studies show that if you’re likable, even if your peer group disagrees with your ideas, they’ll stick around. And you may rub off on them. The last thing you want to ever do is be right and be a prick. So be right and be kind. Don’t compromise your belief. But don’t be a jackass about it. Especially on the subject of health care where we could really be talking about life or death. All anyone wants is to ensure themselves and their kids and loved one’s survival. Listen more than talking. And you’ll be surprised how a closed mouth will pay off more than a yakity-yak. And speaking of that, it’s time for me to shut my trap.