I have long suspected that there is an inverse relationship between the height of an academic's ivory tower and the amount of oxygen that reaches their brain. A new study by three Duke University behavioral scientists on health care reform certainly seems to bear this out. I caught a whiff of it from their op-ed in the St. Petersburg Times.
The scientists, apparently perplexed by the low public approval ratings for the Affordable Care Act to date, decided to conduct an experiment that would ferret out the root cause of this perceived anomaly (other than that people don't like change, I guess).
To do this, they asked their survey group to imagine that their local government had recently passed a bill to lower the speed limit in order to save lives. The survey group seemed to like this idea. Then they repeated the experiment, but said that the lawmakers were thinking about passing the law but it wasn't law yet. The survey group felt such legislation was heavy-handed and paternalistic. What this speed limit business has to do with health insurance escapes me.
Their conclusion (wait for it): Health care reform "is unpopular in large part because it no longer feels inevitable."
Oh dear. Could it be that all of our LAWS are similarly ambiguous?!
But let's savor the full concluding paragraph of this psycho-drivel:
"The real battle over health care reform in the next few months will extend beyond the specifics of budget debates and regulatory wrangling. Instead the fate of health care reforms (sic) stands mainly on how soon, if ever, the public come (sic) to feel that the legislation is enduring. If the permanence of the Affordable Care Act continues to feel unsettled, that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy." (I'm tempted to insert a "sic" after that entire last sentence because, try as I might, I just can't make any sense of it.)
To confirm their findings, I just conducted a survey using a sample group of two cats and a Golden Retriever. None of them were as confused about the public perceptions of health care reform as the Duke team. That's because, as part of my DIY survey, I enlisted a yappy dachshund to re-enact the role of the Republican and tea party opponents whose blatant misinformation campaign has managed to convince the easily led that our health care reforms only apply to citizens of Kenya.
Let's be clear, to borrow one of President Barack Obama's favorite phrases: The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, regardless of how it feels, and we'll all get used to it in time.
Now if someone would kindly turn down the Bunsen burners and let some fresh air into that lab.
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