“This kind of rhetoric abuses the word terrorist, and tries to delegitimize attempts at reform using scare tactics.”
In the ongoing debate over the health care bill there has been a great deal of fervor, but very little substantive discussion. Adding to the cacophony is the Salt Lake Tribune, which recently called Republicans “health care terrorists.”
The reasoning given by the author is that older people have to pay more and there are thousands who “will die earlier, be poorer, sicker, bankrupt or thrown out of nursing homes” because of the health care bill. This kind of rhetoric abuses the word terrorist, and tries to delegitimize attempts at reform using scare tactics.
The word terrorist is a pejorative that is more often used for its emotional value than its accuracy. That is why many terrorist groups strive to present themselves as valiant freedom fighters protecting the people against a corrupt government. Corrupt governments often try to delegitimize opponents by calling them terrorists. This war of words can make it tough to distinguish between a freedom fighter and a terrorist, so scholars have developed clear and clinical definitions that cut through the war of words.
But the public at large doesn’t really pay attention to things like that. They know that barbaric terrorist groups like ISIS are horrible, so the word terrorist is used to attack opponents as “bad” people without having to explain why. Frankly, these kinds of attacks that do things like accuse opponents of throwing grandma off a cliff are part of the problem. It’s the reason why Americans have such low esteem for politicians and why there is a good deal of bickering without meaningful reform.
More substantively, the author attacked the idea that older people will have to pay more for their insurance. Personally, I don’t know why so many people think it is okay for others to pay for their insurance, and that it is bad to pay for their own. Basic economics tells us that younger and healthier people need less medical coverage and would thus pay less for insurance. In contrast, older individuals tend to need more medical coverage and need to be charged more. The elderly complaining about higher insurance premiums than younger people is like a pyromaniac complaining about the high price of his or her fire insurance.
The original offense was forcing younger and healthier people to buy a defective product as a way to subsidize older consumers. It was doubly bad because the older individuals have been earning for decades more than younger individuals and are on average the wealthiest segment of society. It shows a rather alarming trend that items like basic economics are ignored in favor of forcing supposedly free individuals to buy a defective government sponsored product.
Health care is an important topic that touches just about every person in America. There is no policy that will please everybody. But the best option is to focus on free market reforms that will increase the quality and lower the cost of health care. Health insurance would then be similar to many other monthly bills that Americans purchase without government assistance. One of the worst options is to use overly emotional attacks that cloud the issue with anger instead offering solutions, but that seems to be the preferred option for many.