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The debate opened with Michael Cannon from the CATO Institute arguing that the PPACA needs to be completely repealed, Medicare saves no one, and that doctors should not advocate on behalf of their patients.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.