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Good news for baseball and health care


The Detroit Tigers won their division championship last night, and there’s good news for Democrats in that. This year, they can root for the team to win the World Series. Last year, that wasn’t the case.

You see, there’s an odd quirky way in which baseball correlates to national elections. When the American League wins the World Series, that‘s generally good news for the Republicans. National League wins; good for the Democrats.

Detroit‘s last two World Series triumphs came in 1968 and 1984, years when the GOP won presidential elections. The Tigers lost the World Series seven years ago, and less than a month later Democrats recaptured Congress. When the Tigers were humiliated in last year‘s series, we knew it meant curtains for Mitt Romney.

But this year is an odd numbered year, and there are no partisan elections to speak of, so there‘s no harm in everyone cheering the Tigers. Now you may be thinking, none of that makes logical sense. That‘s true. But neither does it make sense that a law that requires people to purchase health insurance from one of many private companies is being called socialism.

In fact, so-called Obamacare is anti-socialistic. Many folks without health care have been seeking treatment in our emergency rooms, costs passed on to the rest of us in what is really a crudely inefficient form of socialism.

Now, there‘s a chance to fix that, a chance that's been hampered by irrationality and sore losers. Three years ago, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Supreme Court found it constitutional, and last fall, President Obama was reelected in a contest that was largely a referendum on his policies.

But democratic processes and the will of the people evidently don’t mean much to those who even now are threatening to shut down the government unless the President agrees to essentially kill the plan he staked his career on. Well, as of Tuesday people will be able to get on line and shop for the best plan for them.

Yesterday, we got some good news. The average cost of such a plan in Michigan will be lower than in most states. However, finding the right plan for you may not be as easy here.

The legislature irrationally turned down millions of federal dollars and refused to create a state-run Michigan-friendly health care exchange to help consumers find care, just because they hate the idea. So Washington created one for us, which you’ll be able to find at healthcare.gov. Experts say most people will be surprised to find how much they are eligible for at a relatively low cost.

Dr. Stan Levy, an elderly physician still practicing in the Detroit suburbs, told me he was opposed to Medicare and Medicaid when they came along. Now, he can’t imagine life without them. Much the same is true for Social Security.

My guess is that if you are 30 years old, someday you’ll hear a grandchild ask: “Is it true that some people used to be opposed to everyone having health care?” When you answer, they may shake their heads, and in the words of comedian Yakov Smirnoff say, “What a country!”

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst. Views expressed in the essays by Lessenberry are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.