When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

02 October 2009

How to have a rational debate about healthcare reform

You should go immediately to this article and read every word; it's wisdom. I'd like to excerpt the whole thing, but I'll just call out these points:
First, we need to decide which of the three – access, quality, and cost – are most important. Then we need to decide what we are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve that goal.

Do you want to improve access? Then you need to admit to the American people that it’s going to cost money, and you have to discuss how we are going to raise that money. You may also want to address how this will affect the quality of everyone’s care, because it might.

Do you want to bring costs down? Tell us how. It’s going to have to come in the form of either covering less people or spending less on health care. That can negatively impact quality as well.

You know what you can’t do? Scream about the cost and the deficit and then lose your mind whenever someone discusses limiting coverage (rationing) or removing the profit incentive from insurance (public option). Both of those things have been shown, empirically and theoretically, to reduce cost.

You know what else you can’t do? Demand universal coverage and then lose your mind whenever someone remarks that costs may skyrocket and that quality may suffer. Pointing those things out does not make you evil or mean you don’t care.

It’s easy to demonize those who disagree. We have to stop - right now. People who disagree with me or with you don’t hate America. Nor do they hate the poor. They don’t hate insurance companies, they don’t hate sick people, and they don’t hate capitalism. It’s a myth that only one solution is available or that we can’t disagree about what to do. We should debate this; we should argue with each other passionately. That’s what Americans do.
Aaron E. Carroll, MD: How to have a rational debate about health-care reform (Huffington Post)

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