Americans' Health Care Complacency

A blog about business and economics.
June 27 2012 11:51 AM

Americans' Health Care Complacency

1340812638538

I think the more undercovered story in American public life is the broad-based satisfaction with the status quo. Everything you read is about how dissatisfied people are with various institutions, how they think the country's on the wrong track, how incumbents are dropping like flies, and so forth. The reality, of course, is that the overwhelming majority of members of congress (and state legislators, etc.) are re-elected every year. We saw recently that people think economic conditions in their city are pretty good. It's well known that people believe their local schools are good. And a Post poll today confirms that even though people claim to think the health care system needs reform, they in practice like the health care they have and hate efforts to change things.

My colleague John Dickerson has a great piece up about Mitt Romney's amazing aversion to saying what he would actually do as president, which I think is a symptom of this broader trend of mass public satisfaction.

Advertisement

Everyone is dead-set against the status quo and absolutely demands that politicians promise big changes and a desire to shake things up. But actually everyone is fundamentally opposed to anything in their own lives actually changing. So support for "change" melts away whenever you spell things out. We can all agree that "the tax code" is "too complicated" and needs to be made "simpler" but nobody actually wants to scrap any deductions any more than they want their local school to change, their company's health care plan to change, or anything else.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.