The Health Care Debate Takes Over Facebook

Or at least my little corner of it. I never thought I’d have to do this, but I’ve turned off a couple of people from my Facebook “news feed” because politics has wormed it’s way into my escape.

Now please don’t misunderstand. I enjoy a spirited, debate as much as the next person. I like to listen, particularly, to other people’s ideas and express my own, though because of literally decades of trying my damndest to be neutral, I’m sometimes not as strident about expressing my beliefs as I might be. I’m one of those people who has long-held convictions, but they’re mine. You might disagree with me, but I fully support your right to your convictions, even if I think they’re wrong. There should be more reasoned debate, but there’s a place for everything, and for me, Facebook is just not it.

The debate over health care is serving to divide the nation almost like none since the last time it was tried back in the early 90’s, and both sides are guilty of taking what is the worst, most extreme example of what they think is right about their side and wrong about the other side and electronically shouting it as loudly as they can. Lucy Van Pelt said “If you can’t be right, be wrong at the top of your voice,” and that seems to be the way the debate over health care is going right now. Each side thinks they’re right, and they think if they shout it loudly enough, that the other side will magically see the error of their ways and say “well duh, of course everything I believe is wrong and you were right.” But it’ll never happen because they’re also so busy shouting that they’re unable, and obviously unwilling to hear anything.

And so, on this Labor day weekend, I had to just click the “Hide” option beside a couple of people whom I genuinely like and consider friends. Just for the news feed, it’s not like they’re ignored or anything, but the beauty of this is that the end user can completely control what he or she sees, and today I exercised a little of that control.

It’s too bad, really, because at least one was someone with whom I’ve had many vigorous and impassioned debates. But I already know their views on health care, and frankly it’s not what I’m looking for when I go to Facebook.

I truly enjoy the ability to connect with people, to keep up with their lives and their families. That’s why I have a Facebook account. There are a lot of people among my Facebook friends who have political views that are different than mine, and that’s OK. I’d never learn anything if I just listened to the echo chamber. But I need an escape, and for a while, Facebook was it. Today I just decided that enough was enough, and some of those people, while still able to contact me, are not going to be part of my daily reading.

Lest you think I’m hiding my head in the sand, let me just say without being specific that our household is facing potentially very serious health insurance issues, and employment concerns directly tied to the issue. We’re living it on the front lines. Part of my reasoning for clicking that “off” button was frankly, I don’t need your platitudes and regurgitated postings of somebody else’s talking points. Those Facebook posts seem to be becoming a lazy person’s blog, that “Hell Yeah” kind of attitude that is thrown out into the Interwebs without a lot of thought. In our house, the debate is real, and something that we could potentially struggle with for a lifetime, and that could be of a lot lower quality, if the wrong choices are made.

It would be really refreshing if everyone would stop shouting about health care and just do something about it. And I don’t think right now ANYBODY is REALLY doing anything about it but shouting. Republicans are once again being the party of “No”, knowing full well that any ideas they might have might get a courtesy glance from the Majority before being round-filed, leaving few options for them to be part of the debate, and Democrats are once again telling us that Government knows what’s best for us.

Meanwhile, with small business already accounting for something like 70% of new jobs, and more and more people trying to make it on their own after having their “positions eliminated” by the companies that could actually get into an insurance pool, millions of Americans, maybe 10’s of millions, could be dumped into a government pool because that is their only option, where bureaucrats will tell the doctors what drugs they will allow for pre-existing conditions which may or may not be the best solution for a health problem. You have to take what we offer because you’re unable to get anything else, no matter whether it actually is useful. Some will be fine, but it’s impossible to say how many will fall through the inevitable cracks that occur when government tries to create something this big. But with no opportunity to buy affordable insurance on the open market, that is the future I see. Individuals who actually need health insurance can’t buy it because they can’t get into a pool that makes it affordable. I’ve also heard, but have no empirical evidence, that some companies are screening potential employees based on the possibility that they might actually USE their insurance, and making that a basis for hiring. In this economy, they can. Many companies even though they would never admit it, have certainly based some of their downsizing decisions in part on who was using up more health care. It’s a cost center, and it’s all about reducing costs.

Still, I’m personally very skeptical that an enormous, one-size-fits-all federal government solution will fix the problem, no matter how much money they print to throw at it.

Meantime, I’m genuinely sorry if I’ve had to remove you from my “news feed” for a while. Most of you will be back, eventually. As for me, I’ll keep my politics here. There are plenty of venues for that.

So, how’s the family doing …




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Filed under Beach Living, Facebook, Health Care Debate, Life, Politics, Thoughts

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