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Psychobabble and health reform

By Jay MacDonald ·
Friday, March 25, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

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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April 02, 2011 at 7:58 am

Lots of Southerners didn't like laws ending segregation, Jim Crow, and slavery. Sometimes, change is good.

The problem with this bill was that Democrats underestimated the power health insurance companies hold over Republicans. Ooooh, that sweet taste of corporate money. Mitch McConnell and and John Boner just couldn't pull away from that teat long enough to consider the well-being of their fellow un-rich Americans.

"Repeal and replace?" It's more like "Kill and figure out a way to shift more tax money to corporations." The problem is that millions will remain uninsured. But, why should Republican lawmakers care? It's not like get anywhere NEAR an uninsured person. Their poverty might get on them.

March 31, 2011 at 7:25 am

Awesome Post,it's very valuable information that really needed for common people.

March 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

G, you took the words right out of my mouth!

March 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Self-employed with no employees in a health insurance monopoly state (Alabama) do not have a public voice in this debate. Only option now is to pay thru the nose for individual policies, or risk it all and go without. Note: Most doctors in Alabama do not accept uninsured patients-have to go to a doc-in-the-box. Waiting with bated breath for the exchange to actually happen and get some competition and ability to do some comparison shopping.

March 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Don't tell me - the Federal Government (us!) paid $25 million for this "study," right? Let me save these folks some money: People don't like this absurd, over-reaching, intrusive, and bloated government bill because it is not economically viable. And because it was shoved down our throats by a group of people trying to tell us they know better than the people whose money they are spending. And finally, to add insult to injury, the bill was 2,000+ pages and no one was given a chance to read the thing. I add with great sarcasm, what's not to like? Good grief! I just hope this country makes it to 2012 when the incompetent in the White House will be voted out.