Between bites of Chinese barbecued pork, he talked about the law. “Good idea; bad implementation. They haven’t taken into account the cost of delivering the care or the extent of people needing the care. You can’t propose a program and not fund it.” Then he asked me a question. What did I think of the Republican drive to kill a public option? When I told him I had no opinion, he offered plenty more of his: “They already have socialism—Medicare and Medicaid. I can’t understand how people want to continue to be fleeced by insurance companies. They deny care and jack up the price. Supporting the public option doesn’t cost anybody a dime. It would force companies to compete.”

What does he do when he gets sick? “I don’t get sick. I stay healthy,” he told me. But when you do, I pressed? Last year he did have an ear infection. “I got it treated and paid the bill.”

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.