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Ideologies dictate Expert Debate on Health Care Reform

Carl G. Streed Jr.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Class of 2013

After a jolt of caffeine, I was ready to engage in the health care reform debate in AMSA’s “On the Hot Seat: Health Policy Experts Debate.” However, what I found there was more hand waving and ideological entrenchment than actual reform.

The debate opened with Michael Cannon from the CATO Institute arguing that the PPACA needs to be completely repealed, Medicare saves no one, and that doctors should not advocate on behalf of their patients. I work really, really hard to remain opened minded, but when I am offered no data, no statistics, and no references to turn to so that I may comb through the facts, I’m highly skeptical. Additionally, repealing PPACA without offering solid solutions just doesn’t sit with me. 

Following Cannon, Robert Zarr M.D. of the Physicians for a National Health Program, inundated the audience with graphs and data that suggested the needed for a single-payer model following the collapse of the current healthcare system in the United States. Advocating for change following the utter ruin of the current system and the subsequent harm to our patients did not sit well with many in the audience; waiting for the house to burn down before going in to offer a solution doesn’t make for sound reform (might have worked for Chicago in 1871, not so much for health care now. 

In the end, the debate was more slings and arrows across ideologies than an exchange of ideas.

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Comments  2

  • Lindsay Martin-Engel 17 Mar

    Carl-
    I'm so glad you posted this, I agree with you entirely.  I was at this session, and I was so disappointed to hear the tired worn-out extremes pound their ideological fists that I walked out after 20 minutes.  This was not a debate.  Both speakers were opposed to the current reforms, and spent their respective time tearing the PPACA apart.  Furthermore, it echoes a problem that I've come across multiple times now: their are very few physicians willing to speak in favor of a progressive national healthcare reform who are not members of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP).  And when PNHP physicans speak at public events, they have a tendency to sidestep the current debate at hand and instead spout off the rhetoric in favor of a single payer program.  Ironically, I consider myself a supporter of single payer, yet I find it frustrating that PNHP physicians constantly highjack the conversation about the PPACA and insert a single payer infomercial.  Calling all you progressives out there -- let's please keep the debate on task!  

  • Makuta 29 Jun

    There has been a lot of debate going on related to the health care reform.I have found only a few physicians who are willing to accept the new health care reform.i would love to see a temporary medical insurance this gives the user more flexibility also it can help the user to spend less on the insurance premium.There are lots of point which are debatable in the new heath care bill but also there are few points which are beneficial for the users.Coming back to the topic,almost all the physicians are against the bill and hence in the seminar no one was willing to favor it.
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