I think I've found the core problem with health care in America. And guess what? It involves Delta Airlines!
A few weeks ago, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow was going on and on about a "single insurance provider" that pays for 49 percent of all births, as well as full health care costs of almost 40 percent of all children in the United States. This single "insurer," Maddow said, was the biggest "health insurance provider in the country by a mile."
Maddow was talking about Medicaid, which, of course, is not "insurance" but "welfare."
When we're allowed to call things whatever we want in order to win an argument, there is a total breakdown in democratic politics, fair commerce and social interaction.
Thus, for example, until we get our terms straight, Americans will be forced to keep paying through the nose whenever they try to buy actual health insurance -- because they aren't buying health insurance; they're paying for other people's welfare. Washington will never be able to make it legal to sell real health insurance -- because, if they try, the welfare recipients will mob congressional offices claiming that Republicans are murdering them.
There is no truth in any discussion of Obamacare. Currently, the most persistent lie is the claim that -- according to scoring by the CBO! -- 22 million Americans would "lose" their health insurance under the Senate health care bill. Turn on the TV right now and you'll hear someone saying this.
"A new (CBO) budget score said 22 million more Americans would lose health coverage under this plan ..."
-- Poppy Harlow, CNN, June 27, 2017
"A score from the Congressional Budget Office ... said the Republican bill to kill Obamacare would kick 22 million Americans off their health insurance."
-- Rachel Maddow, June 27, 2017
"The clock is ticking on the Senate health care bill as the CBO estimates 22 million people will lose their insurance."
-- Chris Hayes, June 26, 2017
HELLO? REPUBLICANS? ANY OF YOU GUYS WANT TO REBUT THAT? IT'S PRETTY EASY TO DO!
The actual CBO report says nothing of the sort. People citing the "22 million" figure didn't read past the CBO's headline-grabbing paragraph at the top of the "Summary" page.
In fact, the CBO merely estimates that -- in the year 2026 -- 22 million Americans who otherwise would have been forced by the Obamacare penalty to buy health insurance will choose not to buy insurance once the penalty is gone. By "people thrown off their health insurance," liberals mean: "people who voluntarily decide not to have health insurance." (More accurately, "people who choose not to prove to the government that they have health insurance.")
To use the word "lose" here is absurd. It would be like saying that Nixon ending the draft meant that 50,000 American men would "lose" their military service. The poor lads would be forced to volunteer.
Last year, I chose to end my New York Times subscription. I wasn't "thrown off" the Times' subscriber list. In full possession of the facts, I made an informed decision that I no longer wanted to receive the Times -- just as 22 million Americans (the CBO guesses) will make an informed decision in the year 2026 not to have health insurance, if given that option.
Redefining words like "insurance" and "lose" to mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean makes human conversation impossible. We can still grunt, howl and shiver when it's cold, but we will no longer have the ability to communicate slightly more complex thoughts to one another.
The only solution is for the rest of us to impose a broken windows policy on the truth, demanding it in every walk of life. If liars continually get away with it, their lies will only become more preposterous and more enraging.
Illegal aliens are not "undocumented immigrants." They're not "immigrants" at all. Immigrants wait in line and jump through hoops to be here. They are invited, by us, to come. Illegals cut to the head of the line whenever the mood strikes them, without waiting for an invitation.
When you have a "reserved seat" on Delta, it means you expect to be given that seat and not have your ticket snatched from your hand, then moved to a worse seat -- only to get abused on social media by an imperious corporation for talking about it on Twitter.
(Idea for new Delta motto: "If you like your seat, you can keep your seat!")
This is why the "Seinfeld" exchange with a car rental company struck such a chord. It was about the infuriating result when words like "reservation" have no meaning:
Jerry: I don't understand. I made a reservation. Do you have my reservation?
Rental car agent: Yes, we do. Unfortunately, we ran out of cars.
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That's why you have the reservation.
Rental car agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don't think you do. If you did, I'd have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation. And that's really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.
If we're going to have any kind of civil society, we need to insist that words mean what they say.
"Health insurance": A group of people pooling their money every month, in the event that one of them ends up with an expensive medical problem.
"Republican": Does not raise taxes, propose amnesty or appoint David Hackett Souter to the Supreme Court.
"Seat 3A": The seat you were promised.
Unless the rest of us demand truth, the liars will be emboldened, their lies will snowball and nothing will ever work.