03 September 2009

Healthcare Reform Facebook Meme

So, starting late yesterday, and all through today, a whole bunch of people on Facebook posted on their status a message that seemed pretty popular:
No one should die because they cannot afford healthcare, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status.
After I saw it for the first few times, I thought it was an ok sentiment, but not one I would be echoing on my own Facebook status. Then, there seemed to be an onslaught of status updates with the same, or very similar messages. There were comments of support, and some other status messages serving a bit of a backlash sentiment.

I decided to post as my Facebook Status:
Mason Wong supports Obama's healthcare reform efforts but I also think for myself. I'm not repeating anyone else's chain status post.
I received some mixed comments as a result. Instead of responding on Facebook to my own status, I've decided to respond here on my blog:

Anytime there's a fad, which the Facebook Status meme clearly is, there will be a contrarian backlash. Even though I am probably on the same side of the healthcare reform debate as most of those who are posting the chain message, I find myself on the backlash side of the fad.

Besides the group think aspect of it, I frankly don't find the idealism useful at this point in the political debate. We need big, practical changes, urgently, and we need at least a tiny bit of bipartisanship to get it done. I personally don't believe a simple moral statement burdened with absolutes will be what it takes to influence those across the aisle on the issue.

Most Americans, such as myself, are actually satisfied with our current healthcare. We do want everyone to have healthcare coverage, and those millions of Americans who don't have it, should get it, but not in a new economic structure that significantly degrades the coverage that's already in place.

On the one hand, Do Nothing, and we will all be at risk, with a system bursting at the seams.

On the other hand, to radically change the system while promising ideal absolutes, when the practice of medicine can be very messy and very costly under a wide variety of unforseen circumstances, is unrealistic and unhelpful.

Finally, the meme is a bit of a passive aggressive, obtuse statement, meant as a backhanded reminder of the moral high ground the reform supporters are claiming. I favor explicit statements of support or detraction of the Obama healthcare reform proposals.

Let's discuss. Let's decide. Let's get it done. Enough with the moral of the story.