The Health Care Debate To Date

For the health care debate that has been raging in America of late, I have subscribed to the same philosophy as Ben Casnocha:

I’ve decided I’m just going to read it about once it’s resolved.

You can’t keep up with everything. Rather than lightly follow along and skim articles and pretend to be informed, I’m consciously opting out. I rarely do this when it comes to current affairs — I’m kind of a junkie — but I must say, this time around, it feels liberating.

The debate was also covered widely here in the UK and coverage has, at last, died down. As such I decided it was time to start reading about the progress to date, and came across David Goldhill’s extensive and penetrating piece in The Atlantic that, as Alex J Mann rightly says, contains “everything you need to or should know [about the health care debate]”.

The piece begins with this admission;

I’m a businessman, and in no sense a health-care expert. But the persistence of bad industry practices—from long lines at the doctor’s office to ever-rising prices to astonishing numbers of preventable deaths—seems beyond all normal logic, and must have an underlying cause. There needs to be a business reason why an industry, year in and year out, would be able to get away with poor customer service, unaffordable prices, and uneven results—a reason my father and so many others are unnecessarily killed.

and continues with the following statement that really won me over:

So before exploring alternative policies, let’s reexamine our basic assumptions about health care—what it actually is, how it’s financed, its accountability to patients, and finally its relationship to the eternal laws of supply and demand.