Obamacare and the Five Stages of Grief

LFU_UndertheBusDriver_vFWe’re hearing it pretty regularly now. Obamacare is here to stay and there’s nothing we can do about it. So, get ready to pay for its colossal funding shortfall and learn to love living under the bus where you’ve been kicked. On Tuesday, speaking with less smugness, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) opined that, eventually, people will come to accept the law.

Hoyer sounded a lot like a disciple of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the Swiss psychiatrist, and her long-time famous five stages of grief.  According to Kubler-Ross, humans progress through five stages of grief after being informed that they are suffering from terminal conditions.

Acceptance is the fifth, and final, stage, except for dying, of course. To be fair, the Obamacare situation is a little different. Death came first to our healthcare system and the grieving has come afterward.

Will Americans actually reach stage five and accept Obama’s signature legislation? The first four stages are denial, anger, bargaining and depression. There has been a huge amount of denial about the demise of our healthcare system. Practically all of it has been expressed by politicians and a shrinking number of Obama’s true believers. The rest of the populous went almost immediately to the anger stage, where many remain.

The bargaining phase will begin in earnest later in this election year. It, too, will be a little different than the Kubler-Ross vision. Rather than voters bargaining with their government for relief from the law, those running for re-election will haggle with them. The spiel will go something like this. “Don’t worry about Obamacare. It’s a done deal, but trust us, we’ll make it work for you in the long run. In the meantime, vote for me and I promise to do many more great things for you.”

This type of dickering is typical of the implicit tit-for-tat language of election year politicking. But, this time, a lot more than usual is hanging in the balance. Will the bargaining efforts of politicians work? Will voters accept Obamacare by returning to power those who have imposed it on the nation? If the answer is yes, then, in another departure from the Kubler-Ross model, depression will be the final stage for many.

Whether the acceptance and depression stages happen depends on the success of the modern political propaganda campaign that has been ongoing since 2009. It has taken several planned turns along the way. First, we were told repeatedly that the current system is unfair to many. Second, we were told, again repeatedly, that the new system will bring fairness to those denied. Third, we were told that those satisfied with their plans and doctors could keep them.

The second and third points were critical twin selling points. If you’re hawking this type of product, it’s not enough to be fair. It’s also necessary to do no harm. While most people support equality, they draw the line at pointless self-sacrifice. So, the Obama Administration hammered home the tandem promises of not disrupting what worked and only fixing what did not. We won’t interfere in your life. We will only help others.

Fourth, when the repeated deceptions came to light, the propaganda campaign took three planned turns. The first was to deny the deception. The second was the Nanny State pitch that the unwanted changes were for our own good. When the first two tactics failed, a third stressed that the law is cast in stone and nothing can be done about it.

On October 29, during the website rollout debacle, Hoyer admitted that Democrats knew from the beginning that existing insurance policies would be cancelled. However, rather than conceding the lie, he cast the deception as “not wrong”. Rather, it was “accurate” yet “not precise” enough. Hoyer went on to justify Obamacare in Nanny State terms as being better for us than what we have now. He also justified the misrepresentations as necessary to “allay the fears” of the national populous.

Will voters accept stark manipulation, disingenuous denials and the destruction of our healthcare system? Or will they reject Obamacare by sending to Congress those who will stop it in its tracks? Contrary to the cast-in-concrete claim, it can be stopped.

Late last week, the White House delayed for one year the implementation of yet another Obamacare provision. This time it’s the equal coverage rule that prohibits employers from providing top executives with better health benefits than other employees. The delay allows IRS bureaucrats to figure out how to measure the value of benefits, what a top executive is and what discrimination looks like.

If making bureaucrats pivotal players in our healthcare system is not a good enough reason to kill the law, we’ll all be depressed. And that’s going to send healthcare costs soaring ever higher.