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What is the condition or problem that I am supposed to have that will get fixed by the right amount of federal government?)

Not to put too fine a point on it, but: polio. The vaccine was developed by Salk at a university supported by federal research grants. The vaccine became widely available because the federal government paid to have millions of doses cultured and distributed for free to all Americans. Polio, one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, disappeared virtually overnight.

And while we're at it, ebola. While there are tens of thousands of cases of ebola in Western Africa where there is no effective "federal government" to deal with it, here in the US there have been a grand total of "four" cases, resulting in "one" death. The number would have been less than "four" if "federal government" safety protocols had been scrupulously followed, but they weren't until the CDC and other agencies made it a priority to set up specialized hospitals and extract patients from ill equipped and careless ones, and institute rigor in the others.

And say, have you heard of measles? Yes? How about John Enders? No? He worked at Boston's Children's Hospital and developed the first protocols which led to a measles vaccine, still the most widely used variant today. Those protocols also formed the basis for Jonas Salk and other vaccine developers in later years. (Enders won the Nobel Prize, but hardly anyone knows the name.) And by now perhaps you have guessed that the research labs at Children's Hospital is partially funded with federal research grants, yes?

OK, just one more. Penicillin. Rather famously invented in 1928 by Alexander Fleming in 1928 at St. Mary's Hospital in Britain, subject of one research paper, widely ignored. Nobody cared much until the outbreak of World War II, and then Britain was too busy to bother. Commercial developers had no luck figuring a way to mass produce the stuff (since you can't very well take petri dishes out onto the battlefield), and it was up to the Rockefeller Foundation and the US Department of Agriculture (Peoria Research Labs) to eventually find a way to increase the yield from "interesting lab phenomenon" to "widely available antibiotic." (It was industry which took these discoveries and churned out the product, but without that frightful "federal government" there would have been nothing to produce, see?)

I could go on, almost endlessly actually. By 1920 only 13 human pathogens had been isolated. By 1960 the number was over 70. Much of that progress was due directly or indirectly to the involvement of government at one stage or another. The polio vaccine alone is estimated to have saved over 100 million lives.

You may notice that each of the four examples is different. "Polio" involves mass distribution to the population of a vaccine. "Ebola" was about coordination of special facilities and procedures. "Measles" was about basic research and development of protocols. And "penicillin" required the dreaded heavy hand of government to help get a product out of the lab where it languished for over a decade and into production. See?

Now none of these may be specifically tied to the ACA, but then each of them has probably been specifically tied to your life - and if in 1920 people had sat around saying "Oh, we don't want the government involved in health care" then likely your life and your family's life would have been far different. So loosen up a little. Try something new. Open horizons. And when your friends around the Campfire ask "What is the condition or problem that I am supposed to have that will get fixed by the right amount of federal government?" now you will have an answer for them, OK?
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