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Member since: Mon Aug 9, 2004, 11:33 AM
Number of posts: 6,226

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Misinformation as murder: lies about the ACA

My wife and I know a former part-time school librarian (I'll call her "Polly" where we used to live in Indiana who is currently dying of cancer. And I do mean dying, because she is not being treated except by whatever unconventional remedy she chooses to pursue at a given moment.

Last night Polly posted on Facebook a link to a Fox News story about how Obamacare was making insurance unaffordable. The dimwit protagonist of their piece reported receiving a letter from his insurance company informing him of a nearly-threefold increase in the price of his insurance, and he moaned that this renders coverage completely unaffordable. Of course, unreported are the likelihood that his bare-bones coverage has been upgraded and, more importantly, that he would certainly be eligible for a substantial subsidy that would erase most, if not all, of that rate increase. Polly moaned that this development clearly puts desperately-needed coverage just that much further out of reach.

My wife and I then spend the next hour or so collectively trying to talk her down from the heights of Faux News hysteria. We urged her to visit healthcare.gov and check her eligibility for a subsidy. She retorted that another cancer patient had told her Obamacare coverage would be $30,000 a year. We forwarded grantcart's story of his experience of learning the true cost and benefits offered. She claimed to have visited healthcare.gov but declared it a "scam." She moaned that the government wants her dead because it's prohibitively expensive because of her pre-existing condition. We pointed her to the fact that the law explicitly bans both coverage denial and higher premiums for pre-existing conditions.

In the end, we could not get through. My wife was beside herself. I told her this just shows how powerful the psychological need to "belong" truly is. Rejecting "Obamacare" is, for the willfully misinformed, an act of identifying with a larger group that maintains itself, in part, by acknowledging only the peculiar alternate reality they've created for themselves. They recognize each other through their shared myths.

I'm hesitant to blame her, or even the ill-informed Tea Party herd, too much. But I will blame the people who make a living from promoting lies. They are the real "death panels." They are killing people by infecting them with irrational fear. They are killing people as I write, and in a few months I'll unfortunately be able to meet the challenge of naming one I know they've murdered.
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