Voter Cognitive Dissonance on Obamacare and How to Fix It

1/3 of voters don’t realize ACA and Obamacare the same law.

My Two takeaways:

1) Education is half the battle

Civics need to be brought back into schools and fast. The media needs to do a better job telling voters how laws effect real people and not just which party is up or down.

2) Marketing is the other half

The law insures everyone and helps those who can’t afford insurance by paying the difference. That’s it. It’s actually not complicated, but every Democrat sounds like an actuary when they explain this. People don’t care *how* it works-just *that it works*.

What are your thoughts?

Recommended by johntmay, dave-from-hvad.


12 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. cognitive dissonance is not the same thing as uninformed...

    1/3 of voters don’t realize ACA and Obamacare the same law

    … and can’t be ‘fixed’ in the manner you describe, however solidly you describe it.

    Not realizing the simple fact that the ACA is Obamacare is to be either misinformed or uninformed.

    Extreme discomfort with attempts to reconcile the fact with what is wished for is cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance arises when two (or more) ideas, one of which is often reality and the other of which is a powerful desire for reality to be otherwise are competing for the same consciousness. People like the ACA. They’ve been told they couldn’t possibly like Obamacare. Telling them that the ACA is actually Obamacare is, in fact, inviting cognitive dissonance.

    Everybody experiences some cognitive dissonance here and there. It’s that little buzzing sensation you get when when your team is about to lose a game you were certain they would win… or when they win in a game they were about to lose. Often it can be absurd, like when you first realize Radar O’Reilly isn’t this mousy little kid but who, in fact, actually runs the place… or, conversely, when you see that Colonel Blake isn’t really in charge. It is, most often, a subtle frisson of mental re-negotiation when reality hits your expectations and you have to re-arrange your expectations.

    But often it can be a huge mental and emotional burden. Probably the clearest example of long term cognitive dissonance that I can think of is closeted homosexuals of a generation or so ago, who were aswim in expectations rapids: society demanded they exist as straight when reality was telling them they couldn’t possibly comply. Many gay men spent years in marriages and with keeping up the front that was, in reality, an affront to who they were. That’s cognitive dissonance.

    Oxycontin aside, cognitive dissonance is Rush Limbaughs drug of choice. He peddles it like a corner dealer. Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, etc… they all push cognitive dissonance. That’s what we’re dealing with and we’ve come to a point where the Republican Party, who’ve spent decades labelling the party of help and hope (the Democrats) as weak-willed bringers of death and despair, have had their ambitions outstripped by the cognitive dissonance. And so, Donald Trump whose very hair is a rebuke to reality, takes the party of Commie hunter Joe McCarthy and red-baiting Richard Nixon on the crazy train straight to Moscow Station. The feeling you get at just how extraordinarily strange that is… that’s cognitive dissonance.

    The craziest thing about cognitive dissonance is that, for all the mental and emotional turmoil it creates, it’s not, at all, an intellectual burden. If it was, simply laying out the facts would salve the discomfort. It is, in fact, a fleeing from intellectual burdens. That’s the mental and emotional toll: or, as Orwell said, to really keep a secret, you must also keep it from yourself. So, at some level, there are a lot of people who do know that the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing, but don’t allow themselves to acknowledge that fact. And when you attempt to force them to acknowledge the fact their mental and emotional muscles go into overdrive trying to keep it at bay.

    • Rush Limbaugh as a peddler

      I don’t think that Rush Limbaugh peddles cognitive dissonance. He peddles remedies for this dissonance. When a religious person can’t reconcile the fact that they want to help someone who is struggling with their belief that big government only hurts people, Rush is right there to lead them to a more comfortable place, either by promising that churches will help people or showing them how the people are hurting by choice and therefore don’t deserve to be helped.

      • any time...

        Rush Limbaugh as a peddler(1+ / 0-) View voters
        I don’t think that Rush Limbaugh peddles cognitive dissonance. He peddles remedies for this dissonance.

        … any time anyone argues with reality, they experience cognitive dissonance. Rush Limbaugh not only peddles cognitive dissonance, he uses copious amounts of it himself.

        Rush is right there to lead them to a more comfortable place, either by promising that churches will help people or showing them how the people are hurting by choice and therefore don’t deserve to be helped.

        I don’t disagree with your assessment of his actions, only with the conclusion that this is, in fact, an actual remedy… rather than attempt at putting out the fire with gasoline.

        Reality always wins. When churches fail to step up or when cousin Ed succumbs to heroin and the reality that he didn’t choose to hurt is staring them in the face, that brief comfort flees and they are back at square one. And then Rush, et al, peddle some more. Lather, rinse, repeat…

  2. The media is corporate

    And corporations want control over the healthcare of American citizens so as to provide economic gains for their shareholders. There is an incentive for the media to promote one aspect of the ACA: everyone must buy!, but there is no incentive for the media to promote morality: all insurance polices must be weighted to benefit the buyer, not the seller.

    The media is friend and foe on this point.

    Most people are ignorant regarding health insurance, why we have it, why we get it from employers, why we did not need it prior to the 1920′s.

    We could all use a history lesson and a lesson regarding what insurance is and how it differs. For starters, risk can be mutualized (Medicare) or it can be traded (Tufts Health Care).

  3. And there is this

    We had company over the weekend.

    She and He are both college graduates, in their early 60′s, from Pennsylvania. They told us that:

    Trump went to Dulles to pay respects for the fallen Navy Seal, and that Obama never did this.

    The Navy Seal died in an attack that was ordered by Obama.

    Obama never attended the funerals of police officers killed on duty.

    Obama refused to salute Marines when exiting Marine One on the White House lawn.

    I showed them PROOF That EVERYTHING they said was a lie.

    They replied that they were not sure of my facts, that things can manipulated by the “liberal media” and there were many other reasons to oppose Obama.

    They went on to say that “Trump will bring back manufacturing jobs and that will raise wages”. I asked why a “manufacturing” job in Mexico that pays $5 a day will pay $25 an hour in the USA. Their reply was that the cost of living in Mexico is low. When I pressed as to why a Walmart clerk does not make a higher wage and is unable to afford the high cost of living in the USA, they replied that “It’s not manufacturing”…..

  4. Here's the rub

    From your link:

    This confusion may affect the public debate over health care policy. If many people think repealing Obamacare would not affect the popular provisions of the A.C.A., they might not understand the potential consequences of the proposals being considered in Washington.

    Other than that, I’m not sure what the problem really is. If the GOP says they’re repealing “Obamacare” but keeps the good parts of ACA, let them them have their fun. What are we worried about, that they’ll call it Trumpcare?

    • Not very likely

      It’s not as though the ACA was structured like it was randomly. All the pieces are supposed to fit together. If you repeal the mandate (which is what people hate the most) then people will buy insurance only when they become sick.

      The Republican holy land does not exist. You can’t have health insurance that is priced cheap enough for everyone to be able to buy without subsidies, is optional when unneeded, covers everything that you want, with no limits, on-demand treatment (not even waiting a week for a non-threatening procedure), etc.

      Insurance is a game of winning or losing. You either pay more than you use or less than you use. Everyone simply wants to pay less than they eventually use. Everyone wants to be a winner. It is simply not possible.

      Health care is purely a mathematical problem. Republicans are going to learn this because the only way to lower the prices for some people is to raise the prices for others or deny them service. The actual actuarial cost of an average family health policy without any cross-group subsidies is very likely $15k per year, and as that couple ages into their early 60s even as they shed their kids, is likely $20k per year. That means unless you make $100k per year, you are going to be squeezed hard under a Republican plan.

      • And there is this:

        If only people making $100K a year can afford medical insurance and costly medical procedures, due to economies of scale, the cost of those medical procedures will rise to higher levels as fewer people will be requesting them.

        Instead of not allocating resources to certain rare diseases because of their rarity and the lack of a monetary payoff, the business of medicine will see sick wealthy people as “rare” and not worth the investment to treat.

        Rich, poor, and in between, we really are dependent on each other.

        Imagine how expensive it would be for only a few people in Boston to be able to afford a fire department, assuming we privatized that public service? The individual fee per house would be enormous. The same holds true with medicine.

  5. The ACA is bad, Obamacare is bad

    Marketing should have started much earlier, with the name of the bill. The “Health Coverage for All Americans” Act or something similar. The Affordable Care Act seemed fine but even that was bad because the main gist of the law early on was not to make it affordable, it was to cover people. But when it became an acronym, it was even easier to attack. Imagine a Presidential candidate explicitly saying “I will repeal the Clean Water Act.” They’ll still want to do it, but they won’t use that language because the politics would be terrible. Democrats should not make this mistake again if they ever regain control.

    Did anyone watch the Sanders v. Cruz debate re: the ACA on CNN last night. Here’s the video. I thought it was fantastic. I think Bernie won mostly because he made the moral case for health coverage (and partly because he comes off as much much more authentic than Cruz – because he is!). Cruz wanted to lean on freedom and government control of health care, which I think is easier to counter with the moral case.

  6. I watched a debate on the ACA last night--Bernie Sanders & Ted Cruz

    It was on CNN. I would recommend watching how Sanders debated as a model for how to defend the ACA and to advocate for better health care in general.

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Sat 29 Apr 7:14 PM