Dispatch: Here's how to talk healthcare in Trump country

Dispatch: Here's how to talk healthcare in Trump country
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Greetings from the last liberal in Trump Country (or so it seems to me). I’ve lived here for 30 years.  I’m active in my county Democratic party. We haven’t won an election in 10 years.  I live next to Trumpers. I go to church with Trumpers. My kids go to school with their kids.  They drive me fucking crazy and love to give me shit for being an unabashed liberal.


And yet, I’ve been able to score a couple of punches about health care.  I wanted to pass on my talking points so you can try them.

“If For-Profit Healthcare could cover everyone, it would have by now.”

This doesn’t get much push back.  I go on to remind their very short memories about how insurance companies used to act before “The Affordable Care Act”:  Sick people being thrown off, insurance coverage limits,  bankruptcies,  unable to qualify for insurance, etc.  Private insurance has had at least 70 years to cover everyone, and it has FAILED to do so.

“It’s unfair to put the healthcare burden on small businesses.”

With the exception of Walmart, nearly all business out here is “small” business.  The grocery store, farmers, grain elevators, hair stylists, hardware stores, local banks, cafes, auto repair shops, etc.

Forcing small businesses to figure out healthcare puts them at a competitive disadvantage to what a large company can offer.   It inherently makes small businesses less competitive for employees.

What is true is that affording and choosing a healthcare plan is a real pain in the ass for small businesses.  To compete for and retain employees, small businesses often need to provide some kind of coverage.  The Obamacare market in my state (Minnesota) only have one insurer for our county, and it’s not cheap.

Any small business owner out here would readily agree that they would rather just not have to think about it.  And so would the  employees.

Wouldn’t it be fucking better if employees just arrived at your company with their own damn insurance, and when they left you they would just take their insurance with them? Of course it would.

“If your taxes go up, your health insurance costs will go way down.”

Inevitably I always get, “It will raise my taxes!!”   Do NOT let this go unchallenged.

Most Trumper’s aren’t smart enough to make the connection between a tax for healthcare services and their current private insurance policy.  Help them understand that a “health insurance tax” means they won’t have your expense for private insurance.

I try to frame it as a wash, which it will really need to be.

Also, stay as FAR AWAY from word “TAX” as possible.  In fact, call it what they already know… it truly would be a “Premium.”

What has worked well for me:  “I haven’t seen a specific proposal yet, but it’s likely your social health insurance premium would be comparable to what you are already paying in corporate insurance premiums.”

“Trump is Trying to Destroy Healthcare”

This one is easy. It will get more push back, but if you’re ready for the argument you easily win this one by discussing current events.  I leave it to your ingenuity.

The Danger Zone

The biggest push back I have received from Trumpers has been around around “Healthcare for everyone.”  Inevitably, when they feel they are losing the argument, they run to the toxic Fox News talking about  “Illegals” qualifying for healthcare.  This is and will remain a huge Republicon talking point against “Medicare for all.”

I haven’t solved this one yet.  I’ve tried saying, “Aren’t we all better and healthier as a community if we’re all healthier?”  Sadly, this often goes to their Fox News stereotype of ‘illegals’ spreading disease.  It’s a horrible place to go.

For now, aware of the limits placed on me by virtue of geography, I steer clear of this issue.  It’s not winnable yet in Trump country. I don’t know how to win it, and nobody has shown me how to win it. If you have the magic words, post them in the comments for me.

And that’s the news from Trump country, where all the white men drive pickups, all the women are obedient, and all the children are members of the school trap shooting team.

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