My regular readers may find the title of this post startling. Bear with me for a few minutes. I've decided to speak directly to the most vociferous critics of the plan to reform our healthcare system, the ones who shout down conversation at protest rallies.
I understand that you claim to oppose the current healthcare plan because you fear the effect of socializing medicine.
If you want to convince others of the unassailable rightness of your point of view, I have a strategy you might want to use. It is stunning in its simplicity and will address so many of the flaws you find in the proposed healthcare plan.
Opt out of Medicare.
That's right. Opt out of Medicare and take out your own privately funded health insurance policy. Pay for the premiums from your own resources.
If you are too young to qualify for Medicare, persuade your parents or grandparents to opt out of the system. Offer to help pay their premiums as a demonstration of your family values.
Just think how much propaganda value this protest would have, especially if it became a mass movement. During the upcoming debate over the bill, conservative senators could stand up on the Senate floor and thunder, "My constituents are so opposed to socialized medicine that 30 percent of eligible recipients have chosen to opt out of Medicare."
Not only would you be striking a blow against socialism, you would also be accomplishing two other things you hold dear. You would be helping the insurance companies compete by giving them more business, and you would be helping to reduce government spending.
I know that, liberal as I am, I would be impressed by such a principled stand. And it would be a lot more relevant to the issue than mailing teabags to Washington or waving them at public protests.
Nothing less than such a radical consistency between ideology and action will convince me that you have been honest about your reasons for opposing the public option. If you fail to act in a way that is true to your stated principles, then I will continue to suspect what I have suspected all along . . . that you are simply infected with an "I've got mine, screw everyone else" hypocrisy. Alas, it's an epidemic far deadlier than H1N1, and it threatens to kill all of us.
* Hat tip to Jonathan Swift