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Friday, October 21, 2016

As the first openly gay person ever elected to public office in California, Harvey Milk helped change America with a simple message to his community: Come out.

“Every gay person must come out,” Milk said on Gay Freedom Day in 1978. “As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all. And once you do, you will feel so much better”

Thursday in Kentucky, the state’s Democratic governor Steve Beshear offered a different version of the same argument at the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast in support of Obamacare, as Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) sat in the audience.

“You’re friends with them,” he said, referring to the state’s 640,000 uninsured residents. “You’re probably related to them. Some may be your sons and daughters. You go to church with them. Shop with them. Help them harvest their fields. Sit in the stands with them as you watch your kids play football or basketball or ride a horse in competition. Heck, you may even be one of them.”

He went on to describe the plight of praying you don’t get sick or having to choose between food and medicine.

Of course, the burdens and prejudices members of the LGBT community have to endure are in no way the same as being uninsured. But as a purely political strategy, Beshear is showing health care supporters how to make an argument in support of reform, given that 85 percent of Americans have insurance and just don’t want to lose it.

One of the major difficulties in selling Obamacare is that its most direct benefits go to the 15 percent of America that doesn’t have insurance. Most of these people are the working poor who earn too much for Medicaid but not enough to afford coverage. They are, unfortunately for supporters of the law, generally not reliable voters. And they certainly don’t donate much to political campaigns.

Beshear is speaking to the 85 percent. He’s not just giving them a dose of reality by telling them that they could easily end up in the pool of the uninsured, which they could. He’s also saying, do we want these people to live a life of constant worry, living without coverage even as America spends more per capita on health care than any country in the industrial world?

America’s uninsured are a minority and they are mostly under-represented in American politics. But they make a powerful statement when they let their friends and family know that they lack basic health insurance.

If America’s insured, who also benefit from the new protections in the health care law, understand that the uninsured could be their friends, sons, daughters or members of their church, it will be much easier to make the case for a law designed to start fixing that problem.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Billie

    People who support the ACA need to show up at the town hall meeting. So far only those against show up. Of those that show up, most have insurance and don’t care about the rest who don’t have insurance.

    • TZToronto

      If they only realized that their insurance premiums–that they pay or are paid by their employers–pay for treatment of other people who get sick or injured, maybe they’d be more supportive of ACA. Do these people really think that their own treatment is paid by their insurance premiums alone? Don’t they understand that the $40,000 paid to fix their broken arms isn’t nearly covered by the premiums they alone have paid and that the cost of treatment is covered by premiums paid by people who didn’t break their arms? Selfishness is one thing. Selfishness based on ignorance is another.

      • lonleylibertarian

        Want to guess at what fixing that broken arm really costs?

        And want to guess at what I would pay to have it fixed if I paid on-time and in cash?

        • Daniel P

          If you think you have enough cash buried in your mattress to pay for anything more serious than a broken arm, you’re a fool. But then again, you are a fool, it says so right in your name.

          • lonleylibertarian

            Typical progressive response. Because we have been self insured for a number of years when my wife got sick a year ago we were able to pay for her treatment with our own savings – the bill was $35,000 – we paid every provider in cash and on time – in several cases the discount for cash was over 50%. The total cost was a bit less than $20,000. We went to self insurance when we the lowest insurance premium we were quoted were $1200 a month – each. We both have high blood pressure and my wife smokes – so the rates were not atypical for folks in their 60s. So we are still ahead of the game – saving $30,000 a year in premiums for a rainy day.

          • TZToronto

            Good luck if it’s something that requires months of treatment. If you lived in Canada, you wouldn’t have had to pay anything out of your savings. I agree that health insurance premiums in the U.S. are outrageous. That’s one reason I still live in Canada and haven’t moved back to the States.

          • suerobb

            And catastrophic insurance where you pay cash for doctor visits and minor treatments, but carry insurance for major illnesses or accident related treatments and a great deal less.
            People would rather pay for the 900 channels, Iphones and season tickets than insurance.

        • TZToronto

          I know what it really costs because I live in Canada. It’s actually quite inexpensive. An x-ray (cheap here but probably hundreds of dollars in the U.S.), a cast (again, cheap materials–cheap in Canada, expensive in the U.S.), and a doctor to read the x-ray and put the cast on–probably something like $100 in Canada but thousands in the U.S.

          • suerobb

            The cost of medical has risen drastically because we have 20 million or more illegals getting it for nothing. They are not sharing in the cost of insurance. If you do not think the hospital doesn’t increase fees to cover this loss to insurance claims I have bridge you might want to purchase.

            Our sue happy citizens are another reason. The cost of insurance for health care workers is outrageous, If you do not like the risks you took for surgery even though you signed a consent form, you can still sue. The juries feel the insurance can cover it even though they really find no negligence. Some times cheaper to settle those frivolous suits than fight them.

          • Daniel P

            Medical Malpractice insurance expenses make up less than 2% of the overall line item budget of health care practitioners in the United States.

            Total Medical Malpractice Claims have fluctuated by less than 1% each year since 1991, and claims, in constant dollars, annually have dropped by 7% over that same time frame.

            I understand that you’re old and not very bright, but somewhere along the line it should probably occur to you that both insurers and health care providers are for profit entities.

            Medical Malpractice insurers make their money off of the investments they make on the premiums that doctors pay. When they don’t generate a sufficient amount of revenue from their investments, as happened in 2002 and again in 2008, they make up for that shortfall by raising their rates on doctors.

            But because there are suckers like you, they can talk out of the other side of their mouth about how people are abusing the system, driving doctors out of business (another myth). In seven of the ten states that capped malpractice pay outs between 2001 and 2008, malpractice insurance rates for doctors continued to rise at higher than the national average annually for doctors.

            So, to sum up, you’re a willing shill for the malpractice insurance industry. Willfully advocating placing limits on your own right to sue so an insurance company doesn’t have to pay out an adequate amount in cases where a person’s life was either irreparably harmed or ended due to malpractice or neglect and allowing that company to continue to jack up rates on doctors unabated.

            And that, right there, sums up what’s wrong with your generation. Willfully prostrating your own rights so a corporation can generate ever more revenue while continuing to fuck your fellow countrymen over unabated. All because someone might get something you didn’t.

            But fortunately, people like you and the imbecilic libertarian will be dead soon, so the rest of us can figure out how to clean up your mess.

          • suerobb

            I may be old but calling someone names is not the way to win an argument. I worked in the health care field….. did you? Thirty five years ago an OB GYN needed 35K just to hang a shingle out.

            Malpractice insurance is a necessary evil. Just as car insurance is. Do you think the people who run insurance companies do it out of the kindness of their heart? Do you work or invest for nothing????? And just how does the ACA effect a physicians need for malpractice insurance or its costs? Health care costs are rising so how are they AFFORDABLE? How does the ACA bring down the cost of health care? By denying it is some form? 20K for health care is affordable?

          • suerobb

            Hoping people die soon isn’t “fucking your fellow man” I didn’t make the insurance pay out system. Legislatures with members with law degrees did. I do not like paying a lawyer 33% of what i insured my car and person for to get the insurance company to pay it.
            Insurance is a racket entirely separate from the health care. Denying to pay for coverage you paid for is a different war entirely. We all get the shaft be it accident, health care or house insurance when we do not get the coverage we paid for. We have people who lost everything in Katrina and Sandy who never get paid by the insurance companies. What has Obama and Congress done to address that?

      • suerobb

        The same goes for auto insurance.

        Do you want to pay to cover all those people who had numerous DUIs at the say rate as you ( pre-exisiting condition)
        I pay to insure me. I do not add a list of strangers to that premium. We all share in the pot.

        I do not want to pay more so the other guy can pay less. I pay taxes to cover the poor who cannot afford medical care.

      • suerobb

        One pays into the pot of other people who PAY premiums for insurance. I do not care who gets what just as long as they put into the pot. I already pay taxes to cover medicaid where people get dental coverage which I have to pay for with a separate policy. Now my policies may be taxed if deemed too good,while I continue to share in the cost for more to get care .
        Just what definition of selfishness are you looking at? I do not think it is selfish to expect others to be as responsible by not incurring more cost for the tax payer by having more children they cannot feed and for the government to stay out of my health care and records the IRS have proven they cannot be trusted to handle

        • TZToronto

          My definition of selfishness describes those people who don’t want their premiums to pay for others’ treatment. If that’s what they want, then they should expect that their premiums will cover any treatment they require. They should expect their money to go into a pot from which they will draw when they get sick. . . . How fast do you think their pot of premiums will last if they become really, really sick and need, say, a double lung transplant? And as far as illegals immigrants go, you have a couple of choices. Either tell your Congress-creatures to do something about it, or make sure the illegal immigrants don’t get sick and spread their untreated diseases to others. Health care isn’t just to keep you healthy; it should keep society healthy as well. As things stand now, the U.S. health care system is not doing a very good job of either.

  • Pamby50

    The governor of KY talking about the ACA with Rand & Mitch sitting in the audience. That should have been fun to watch.

  • suerobb

    There are many ways to fix the health care problem without the government taking over. I do not like the idea of Congress voting themselves raises while restricting what a physician can charge for his services.