Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Civil Discourse on Healthcare Reform

I have posted a couple of notes on Facebook that reflect my belief that Christians are called to a high standard of integrity in discussion and debate of divisive issues - Health Care Reform being the current issue - and my disgust at at the propaganda and disregard of the truth that characterizes much of the current debate.

A few of my own observations on Health Care Reform...
  1. Any definitive statement on what is or is not included in the bill is pure conjecture at this point. When Congress recessed, there were a number of bills and proposals in various stages of the process, but as of now, there is no voteable bill in either house.
  2. I do not believe that there is any question that some form of reform is needed. There are parts of our system that are the best in the world, but there are also millions of working Americans who cannot afford to fully access the system. (Not to mention the millions of God's other children within our borders that are somehow undeserving of access to basic health care)
  3. I'm probably not the most politically astute observer, but this is an issue that should transcend partisan politics. It seems to me that President Obama, in trying to get something done while he still has/had the momentum that comes with being newly elected has attempted to get something done too quickly to be the quality reform that is needed; it also seems to me that much of the conservative opposition stems more from the motivation of derailing Obama's presidency than from actual disagreement on the issues.
  4. President Obama outlined eight principles for health care reform in his FY 2010 Budget overview. I can't find much among these to disagree with....
  • Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government.
  • Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs.
  • Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans.
  • Invest in prevention and wellness.
  • Improve patient safety and quality care.
  • Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans.
  • Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job.
  • End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Of course, the devil is in the details, and when the details are being defined by congress the resulting sausage may not be edible to anyone. But if the prevailing shouting continues to obscure the details, we will never know.

Below are the links to the sites mentioned earlier...I hope they provide some clarity.
“A Primer on the Details of Health Care Reform” from The New York Times, published August 9, 2009.
This regularly-updated site from the Kaiser Family Foundation compares the different reform proposals on the table. is devoted to nonpartisan myth-busting and truth-telling.
A summary of’s research into several of the arguments surrounding health-care reform, published July 14, 2009.
8 Myths about Health Care Reform from the AARP Magazine, published July/August 2009.