Friday, August 14, 2009

Health Care Reform...

Ah, the title alone will make today a good visit day. :-)

I haven't taken the time to see what is being proposed. I'm an open minded guy, but I'll admit I'm very nervous about messing things up worse and especially about the national debt. I feel like it would be good to overhaul the system somehow, but am highly suspicious of politicians to be able to do it objectively.

And what's up with the townhall forums? Frankly, I'm so discouraged about the ability of the American people to have rational, civil debate where the real goal is truth rather than bully pulpiting for ideas you aren't open to changing in the light of good evidence and argument. All we do is shout at each other.

I don't usually do politics here, but I genuinely don't have a position on specific proposals, other than I do think we need change.

Anyone up for a civil discussion today?

9 comments:

Kurt A Beard said...

Change is needed but the complexity of any change will make it hard for the consumer to properly weigh in on the quality of the reform. We can't continue with a system that makes healthcare for small business and entrepreneurs too expensive while we tell these same businesses they are the future.
As a worker in a small business I would like to see a solution sooner rather than latter but I feel the best solution may come from outside government. Like the Healthcare X-Prize a privately funded reward for developing a cost and health effective system. http://www.xprize.org/future-x-prizes/healthcare-x-prize/initial-prize-design

Ken Schenck said...

What I think is unhelpful is to resort to generalities, as so many are prone to do, to invoke labels like "socialism" or make obscure connections to side topics. Any discussion that does not focus on the concrete positive and negative consequences of specific policies is unproductive and just plain bad thinking.

HarmonicMiner said...

I suspect your impression of the "town meetings" is based on media attempts to sensationalize the debate. There is PLENTY of reasoned discussion about specific weaknesses of the proposals in a great many places. And I suspect that most town meetings were very boring.

But: can we take seriously ANY plan that is being pushed by people who haven't read it?

Rick said...

Ken,

Don’t become so obsessed with avoiding “bad thinking” that you fall into it. Your complaint about references to socialism is the same thing you claim to want to avoid! Aren’t you demonizing the word in reverse?

When you take a discussion of socialism off the table you risk missing the essential policy point. The current congressional proposals advocated by the Democrats take control of health care. Inherent to socialism is government control.

That makes a discussion of socialism a specific and productive and concrete aspect of the debate.

I also agree with HarmonicMiner. There is plenty of productive discussion with solid and supported objections to the current proposals. The loudness of the objectors is not nearly what so many in the media portray; like references to mobs. It’s our system at work and shows just how out of touch Washington politicians remain.

People are only “shouting” because they do not believe anyone is listening. They are genuinely concerned and will not be silenced. Considering the apathy of recent years, we should all be both encouraged and thrilled that people are paying attention and becoming engaged.

Rick

Ken Schenck said...

Let me frame your comment Rick in the way I believe it should be discussed: "What specific and concrete elements of government control are involved in the specific health care proposals on the table? Are these appropriate governmental controls?"

I think I understand those vocal responses they're playing in the media. It is a sense of powerless after not only having significant power for 8 years, but also believing we had that power as a divine right! The loss of power is being experienced by many Christians in apocalyptic terms we haven't seen since FDR, possibly.

Anonymous said...

Ken-

"I think I understand those vocal responses they're playing in the media. It is a sense of powerless after not only having significant power for 8 years, but also believing we had that power as a divine right!"

Not to say there are not some bad apples in the groups, but I think you are over-generalizing.

Much of the heat came from the fact that the healthcare issue was getting rushed through without much public debate ("before the August break"). That much rush, or such a big issue, has people suspicious and frustrated.
People are standing up and saying-
"Wait a minute! Slow down!"

Another Rick

Anonymous said...

correction/typo-

should say, "for such a big issue"

Another Rick

Rick said...

Ken,

Your reframing of the issue of government control is much improved. Even so, the assumption that government control is good or essential is a significant factor in the debate. That assumption needs to be challenged.

I would like to know how you came to the conclusion that the people objecting to the health care proposal are simply upset over a loss of power. Linking that loss to a divine right is even more puzzling.

It sounds like you are accusing Christians of throwing a temper tantrum. To the degree that Christians are engaged and involved, why can’t they be permitted and encouraged to advance their beliefs the same as anyone else? (By the way, I think Christians have been far too apathetic and uninvolved.)

You may not intend it, but to describe Christians as you do blames them for responding inappropriately and encourages them to retreat. Do you really want to marginalize the Christian perspective and Christians?

It also seems as if you are holding followers of Jesus responsible for the push back on the health care proposals. I wish the people of God would become so vigorously engaged. Unfortunately I have seen no evidence to support my wish.

Now for one specific objection to the current proposals: they include abortions as a covered procedure. As I understand it, most abortions are elective. So then why should my tax dollars pay for a procedure that is almost always elective and for me, morally wrong? I don’t want money taken from me by force and then used to pay for a procedure that violates my moral standards and is seldom medically necessary. And not incidentally, repeated attempts to eliminate abortion services from the legislation have been soundly rejected by the Democrats who now control the legislative process.

Rick

Ken Schenck said...

I'm not at all wanting to imply that all the people in the sound bites were Christians or that all Christians have the same attitude toward the health care bill. And as someone above said, I wouldn't even want to assume that all the town meetings played out like the ones in the media.

I meant "divine right" in a very loose sense, not matching it to God Himself. There often is a certain religious fervor to political conservatism that is quite apart from traditional Christianity. For example, it is my understanding that a good number of quite zealous Republicans coming up through the ranks are gay. They would have the same fervor, I suspect, as the pictures in the media, perhaps without significant engagement with Christianity.

I want to reiterate that I am not endorsing any of the health plans on the table--I haven't done my homework. Perhaps I am also mistaken to think that political and public dialog was ever civil or attempted at objectivity. Clearly neither Keith Olbermann nor Glenn Beck do, in my opinion. They seem to me to typify the current state of things.

I enjoy this dialog. Thank you all!