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Commentary: Was Health Care Reform Really Necessary?–Comments from Two Experts

Apr 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Features, Front Page

The past year on Capitol Hill was interesting, to say the least.  The interminable debate over health care legislation was generally quite contentious.  Those touting the benefits of reform as well as those predicting economic Armageddon were prone to hyperbole, sometimes quite extreme.  Overall, it seems that misinformation crossed the finish line well before information did.  This environment left the nation divided between the “go-gos” and the “no-nos”.  Both the go-gos and the no-nHealth_Medical_clipart004os, much like their elected representatives and the monarchs of misinformation in the media, were strongly committed to their respective positions.

The reality is that if we actually could obtain a coherent and accurate story of how health care is currently delivered and financed, we would inevitably be confused about the effects of the proposed and enacted reform.  As a consequence, we would be more prone to embrace uncertainty over certainty.  With that in mind, we can return to the question posed by this commentary,” Was Health Care Reform Really Necessary?”  We are not offering complete enlightenment on this question; rather we offer only a peek suggested by the comments of two “ordinaries” who have appeared on recent television programs.

The first ordinary was a contestant on the popular game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”  This contestant performed well and won more money than any of us has seen at one time.  The host asked the contestant what were his plans now that he has quite quickly amassed a fortune.  The contestant’s response was, “We would like to take some time to travel, however either my wife or I have to keep our job because we need the health insurance coverage.”

The second was a guest on PBS’s “Antiques Road Show”.  He was seeking an appraisal for an odd sculpture that played music when stroked.  The guest had paid 500 dollars for the sculpture.  The appraiser informed the guest that it would bring 15 to 20 thousand dollars at retail.  The guest’s response was, “That’s quite amazing and good.  I can even get this tooth fixed.”

These two tales contribute very little to our understanding the future effects of the new health care law.   They do, however, offer some insight, however twisted and oblique, to the necessity of some sort of reform.

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