A liberal false premise of people voting against their interest


The Republicans' shock victory in the election for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts meant the Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. This makes it even harder for the Obama administration to get healthcare reform passed in the US.

Political scientist Dr David Runciman looks at why is there often such deep opposition to reforms that appear to be of obvious benefit to voters.

Last year, in a series of "town-hall meetings" across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms.

What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

Polling evidence suggests that the numbers who think the reforms go too far are nearly matched by those who think they do not go far enough.

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform - the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state - are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

Instead, to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal.

Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?

Why are they manning the barricades to defend insurance companies that routinely deny claims and cancel policies?


The fact is that most people don't feel the payment of the premiums, because they are made by their employer. And, most people do not get claims denied. I can't recall ever getting one denied and I do not hear others complaining of that other than some sob story put forward by liberals from time to time.

The story also misunderstands the dynamics of the Town Hall meetings and the Tea Party movement where there was passionate opposition to the plan. Many of the opponents were seniors who were going to see a reduction in Medicare coverage in the plan. They did not see that reduction as in their interest. It was a way of paying for expenditures for others, so it was perfectly rationale for them to oppose it.

What the BBC also missed is that 80% or more of Americans are satisfied with the current health care system and they do not see it as something that needs to be "reformed."

It should also be noted that Republicans were not leading the Tea Parties and Town Hall protest. These were true grass roots movements that the GOP is still trying to incorporate into the party.

It takes liberal arrogance to write a story from the perspective that these voters are working against their interest. Most of us feel that the US has the best health care system in the world and they do not want to turn it over to a control freak government that will give top down commands on who will be treated and how the treatment would be rationed. Americans do not want rationed health care.


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