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So, a quick glance at my beloved Twitter feed confirms several things

1. We all have relatives across the political spectrum
2. We;re is glad to see them anyway
3. And love them all the more when the visit ends before the welcome does so

So, seriously. Aside from values of filial devotion, blood is thicker than water and all that? Apart from adherence to traditional customs and norms about extended and post-nuclear family gatherings?

Why, oh, why do we gird ourselves for forced conversation across the dinner table and later on around dessert plates that sooner or later, even among the most self-disciplined, devolve into politics?

I'll go first... below the monogram sweater thingy....

My mom's a lifelong Republican. She recently married a lifelong Libertarian who happens to be a retired career soldier with all the benefits that come from being such a veteran serviceman including the best health care of all time.

So naturally I bided my time, waited for a moment, and brought up that least controversial of topics... Obamacare. :)

Without belaboring the particulars...the conversation went rather nicely. Hubby #3 and I were bantering cordially about the irony that what the sticker price is for a doctor visit, what the Medicare price is, what the private insurance price is and what the Tri-Care program pays are all very different.

"Where's the free market?" I cried. (I was all in using that framing. Fluency in foreign languages is valuable in diplomacy.)

"I know!" He said. "There's a radio station down here saying people should go into doctors and ask, 'Seriously, doc. Let's make a deal, here.' And that way find a way to cut costs of care and help doctors make a bit more."

I replied "And that would work famously... so long as cash on the barrel head was involved. And probably does. The problem is insurers would insist on paying 40 cents to the dollar. You'd have to get them - and the big public programs - to go along with that plan."

Neither of us had a meaningful follow-up to that. Food and grog were taking their toll.

I did add that there appeared to be a dysfunctional pricing and compensation dynamic that was pressing up health care costs faster than could be explained by mere demand, rising costs and inflation in the overall economy. If hospitals and doctors knew they were getting comped 40 cent on the dollar. they would (and I know for a fact they do) price to clear their margins on that basis. So list price of health care goes up by a big bump there. The insurers know this is going on so they tighten their top prices. Ditto Medicare/Medicaid and Tricare, et all. So the providers adjust, the insurers adjust, etc etc.

Woe to the schmoe paying cash on the barrel head...and the indigent in need of care alike. Odd to think it's the people who both (a) don't need insurance and (b) can't get into the market for it who are hurt most.

Except..that first category? They're the ones the radio station my mom's hubby heard talk about: People who have their own bargaining power, to go into a physician's office and say, doc, really. What's it gonna really cost me?

The poor can't do that.

And so long as you're on insurance of any kind, and relying on it to pay the bulk of your bills, you're not really in position to negotiate at all.

Anyway... so this is the substance of that chat.

It worked out rather well. No big problems sorted. That's what elections and elected officials are for.

And (pats self on back) I did refrain from woot-wooting about the election.

I mean, there was all this binge eating to do.

Al kidding aside, people are a lot more forgiving of variances in opinion and lifestyle and looks in times of plenty. Something, I suspect, the leaders of the opposition party are aware of...and fear.

After all, if no one's hungry then no one's hatin'.

Thus my conclusion that binge eating is the bedrock of bipartisanship.

So eat up. Drink up! Get your fill! It's said from time to time that living well is the best revenge.

Full bellies for dignity! For peace! For progress! I say!

It seemed to work at our house, anyway. :)

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