Aug. 17th, 2009

healthcare

Aug. 17th, 2009 08:29 am
shirou: (Default)
I have been attempting to learn about Obama's healthcare proposal, and I have been largely unsuccessful. News reporting is just abysmal. The media is lucky if it can get a subset of relevant facts correct; you can forget about seeing any kind of analysis.

The proponents of Obama's plan state that the current system is unsustainable. They state that there are critical inefficiencies that must be eliminated. What is the justification for these statements? I have seen one figure and an extrapolation of unknown origin to illustrate the unsustainability. What are the inefficiencies and how does Obama's plan address them? I have no doubt that inefficiencies exist, but I would like to see that they have been identified and that the proposed changes include measures to correct them.

Obama seems to be saying that there are a lot of problems in the healthcare system, and that we should trust him to fix them. Sorry Barack, I don't trust you. I would have at least a little faith in you if you were a successful businessman who reached your position by achieving success in a market. But you were elected; your qualification is that you are charismatic. I need to understand how your policy will repair a broken system. A laundry list of problems in the current system is not sufficient -- I need to understand how your system will be better.

The opponents of the new plan aren't any better. I'm sure that there are plenty of problems with it, but since the people who should be pointing them out are too busy making shit up to figure out what they are, we remain in the dark. Screaming out tired catch-phrases in town hall meetings does not constitute debate.

Where are the economists? Shouldn't the news outlets and/or the government be asking economists to carefully go through the new proposal and writing a real analysis, and not the garbage we get on CNN?

While I'm not generally fond of government intervention, I will acknowledge there are some public healthcare systems in the world that are basically successful. I believe that Denmark's is quite good. There are also public healthcare systems that are abject failures (eg Sweden, NZ), and there are more in the middle (eg Holland). I would like to see an analysis of what makes the good systems work, and what makes the bad systems fail. Will Obama's plan imitate the successful aspects of the strong systems? Will it avoid the pitfalls of the weak systems? I have no idea. The news media does not tell us.

So my opinion is largely that I have no opinion. My interest in politics is at an all time low because I am so fed up with the superficial reporting. I do not feel like I can really formulate an informed opinion. From where I'm sitting, the healthcare battle looks like a war between two armies, each of which is firmly committed to its side for no apparent reason beyond simple party loyalty.

This article makes some sense to me: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html

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shirou

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