Friday, August 14, 2009

Unhealthy debate

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been accused of going around saying that those who are opposed to the Democratic health care plan are "unamerican." Actually, she has been misquoted. She said that those who were going around disrupting town-hall meetings were unamerican. However, this is not the first time she has leveled this particular accusation.

Is it possible that the reason for disruption is that opponents were not being given a chance to voice their opinions, or even, to attend, as Ohio U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown attempted to do at Ohio State University yesterday?

This certainly is not the first time we have caught the Left attempting to replace serious dialogue with namecalling, but it might be the first time we have caught such prominent Democrats engaging in the practice.

I have not weighed in on health care, simply because I have not yet heard what the actual proposal is. I have heard a lot of shouting on both sides. For me, national health care will be a difficult sell. The federal government has a less than stellar record with the administration of social service programs, especially when financial responsibility is taken into account. A state, perhaps, could undertake it (and it appears that Utah is doing so successfully), but not the Feds.

Health care insurance is a difficult topic, because:
1. There are many interested parties, and their relationships are complex: physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, patients, government, pharmaceutical firms, medical supply manufacturers...
2. It is difficult to strike a balance between fostering personal responsibility (no unnecessary visits) and encouraging visits when they are needed, or for prevention.
3. Young people (naturally) don't want to pay, but the elderly need more care than they can pay for.
4. It is difficult to develop a plan that can contain costs without rationing care or denying a patient his right to his preferred physician.

What we need is a free and open debate about health care, where all the issues are aired and discussed. Secret town-hall meetings, closed agendas, and namecalling do not serve the public interest.

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