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Hi Shakesville people! Welcome to the blog. Note that my commenting policy is very similar to Shakesville's; be thoughtful, and all will be well. Be a jerk, and I'll ban your butt.



We need a fraking revolution, is what we need. No taxation without representation, I seem to recall, was a pretty popular slogan back in the day?


The Waiting Room is a documentary about the people who use and work at the county hospital in Oakland, California. It's good. Perhaps seeing it on screen would help the ones you mention above who don't understand?


The idea that insurance doesn't cover everything, or that you can't easily afford the costs of what it doesn't cover (let alone understanding that the cost of self-insuring is itself quite expensive) is so foreign to their own experience that any explanations to the contrary don't register. It's worse than speaking a foreign language; it's speaking apparent nonsense.

The above in particular neatly encapsulates every conversation I've ever had about politics, esp. health care, with my mom's side of the family. When I was uninsured, they expressed concern, and asked me if I couldn't find a better job with health insurance. (Nope! Not because I wasn't looking, either. Where I lived, my skills were not unusual and, thus, not particularly valued or compensated.) I told them it was sweet of them to be concerned, then asked them if they were aware of how many people in the U.S. were uninsured. The world my aunt and uncle grew up in (in which health care came standard) no longer exists, and somehow they did not get the memo. I asked them if they knew that the people they voted for made it harder for those of us who were underemployed to get by. They changed the subject.

We have mutually given up on trying to talk politics, post-Occupy. When it finally sank in that I was significantly to the left of Obama (whom they somehow view as dangerously socialist), they took me off their mailing list, which saves me the trouble of deleting hair-on-fire screeds about Obama's birth certificate, Benghazi, and whatever else Fox news is pushing.


Quercki, thanks for the link!

Alas, I doubt it would help, because they're working under specific assumptions about us, not people in our situation more generally. For example, we do have some savings, and so there's this assumption that we can tap into those if necessary, because that's what they'd do, knowing that they make enough to plug the resulting hole up later. We don't have the luxury of that assumption; my spouse and I both make crap (even without factoring insurance issues into it) so we know that any retirement we have depends on not touching those savings, because there will be little or no other source of income for us at that age.

Basically, the larger problem is that no one living in our family today, on either side, except my dad and uncle as kids, has ever been as low-income and employment-challenged as we are and no one has ever lacked for health insurance or had to pay for it themselves. Maybe they struggled a bit when they were kids or students, but once they got jobs, it was all upward progress from there. Thus poverty or low-income living is seen as something temporary, which is not something our own experience tells us is the case (we started out strong, with good-paying, with-benefits jobs, and are now working part-time and freelance).

So they literally have no experience with the sort of calculations we have to make; it's all second-hand to them at best, and if they're not paying attention, it's easy for them to assume that the way things work for them must of course work that way for everyone else.

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