Americans hear voices in their heads. Contradictory voices.
“Healthcare is a right the government should guarantee me, just like
“Keep the government out of my healthcare.”
Loud voices and soft voices.
“DON’T FORCE ME TO BUY INSURANCE!”
“now that I’m sick, why didn’t someone make me buy insurance?”
Selfish voices and compassionate voices.
“I’m not paying into the system for someone’s abortion.”
“What about my mom; how is she going to pay for her medications?”
Americans are psychotic about their healthcare. They have split-personality disorder. So let’s just recognize this and treat the problem as a doctor would, with smart medicine and mental health therapy—therapy that can be better branded! The smart medicine: a strategy that appeals to people’s individual sense of liberty. The mental health therapy: enlightenment about the fact that sooner or later illness will likely rob people of who they aspire to be.
While Democrats are crowing about how the Republicans failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare, although apparently there are people who falsely believe these are two different things), and Republicans are losing face with their constituencies about the debacle surrounding the American Healthcare Act (AHCA, or Trump/Ryancare), both parties would do well to revisit just how people think about health in America before they put pen to paper again, if at all.
Politicians fail to realize that they are trying to communicate to both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That is, when one is carefree, young and/or healthy, the Mr. Hyde in us resents the burden of having to pay for insurance against the unlikely event that we become seriously ill. It seems like a losing bet every time one writes a check. But for those who rationally understand the diminishing and debilitating state of being ill, of being Dr. Jekyll, no price is too high to try and restore one’s identity to a normal state.
The goal of successful branding is to find the common denominator—what value appeals to both states of mind. And this is it: all Americans want to be free to be themselves. This is especially true of millennials, our newest healthcare utilizers, who embrace wellness as a lifestyle and not just as the opposite of illness. Legislators shouldn’t be advocating Health Insurance; they should be selling Personal Identity Insurance. Healthcare legislature needs to be rebranded as a commitment to personal liberty—a healthy selfishness to which everyone can relate, the sick and the sooner-or-later to be sick.
For the sooner-or-later to be sick, your identity is a priceless asset. You do not want to become the insurance-less person who can’t walk (multiple sclerosis sufferers). You do not want to become the insurance-less person who can’t wear short summer clothes (psoriasis sufferers). You do not want to become the person who breaks their leg rushing for an appointment, or the person who is so depressed you cannot hold a job or sustain a meaningful relationship and have no recourse to reclaim your life. With Personal Identity Insurance, you pay every month to make sure that you remain YOU.
For the sick, you want to once again restore what illness has taken away, or as much of it as you can. You are a “resumer” not a “consumer”; you want to resume as much of your life that was stolen from you, so you pay every month to avail yourself of yourself. Medicines and devices and miraculous restorative services are within the reach of your checkbook.
Remember, Mr. Hyde doesn’t know the possibilities of being Dr. Jekyll when he’s in his altered state. And Dr. Jekyll can barely remember what havoc he wreaked on himself and others when he loses his identity. So to expect either to sympathize with each other’s situation is a fool’s pursuit, as Trump and the GOP and even their Democratic counterparts have yet to realize. They keep legislating healthcare when the American people don’t have a unified—branded—viewpoint on what healthcare really is. For Americans, it’s all about the freedom to be yourself or to resume being yourself if and when you become ill. And we all intuitively understand—Republicans and Democrats, the young and the old, the hale and the ill alike—that freedom isn’t free. We pay for it every day. Our taxes go to support law enforcement and the military to keep us free; to build our roads and bridges so we may roam the country or keep our intended rounds at will. We have a right to bear arms, but no one expects guns to be given out for free.
Personal Identity Insurance is what should be front and center of the American healthcare debate: the right to be and stay who you are and not be terrorized by the prospect of illness. Not to pay for that freedom is un-American. To shirk one’s commitment to personal liberty is to not enlist in the fight against identity-stealing illness. Until our politicians look into the hearts and souls of our American community—where each American treasures his/her own liberty and unadulterated identity, which is our collective identity as Americans—they will never get healthcare legislature right.
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