Healthcare reform: A complex issue, dumbified

As many of you know, Massachusetts recently hosted a heavily contested Senate race. Throughout the campaigning, national healthcare reform was a hot-topic, as one would expect given the razor-thin Congressional margins on reform proposals. What I found unsettling about the debate on healthcare reform was how simplistic and politicized the discussions were about arguably the most pressing issue of the next decade.

The healthcare reform debate raised by the Coakley/Brown teams never seemed to develop beyond cursory exclamations of “Yay/Nay for Obamacare” . The question became not what type of reform proposal would best serve America?, but are you for or against Obamacare?, as though there were only one way to go about healthcare reform.

In the current American political landscape, supporting healthcare reform has become synonymous with supporting Obamacare and by extension, the Democrats, whereas supporting the status-quo (and being anti-Obamacare) is a marker of a true Republican. Just as with the issue of global warming, healthcare reform has become a litmus test for your political values. If you tell people you support healthcare reform, you won't be asked about specific plan you are vouching for; you will simply be labelled as a flag-burning, Soviet-worshipping, tree-hugging liberal (at worst).

The only winners when it comes to the polarized reform debate are the interest groups that support these definitions. When the Republicans or the Democrats paint reform as a case of two extremes, they've cornered their moderate constituencies into supporting the mockery of a reform they espouse. The moderates are bullied into believing that if they don't support THE definition of what healthcare reform should be, they're not true Democrats/Republicans.

What has been lost in the process are the innovative opinions about how healthcare can be structured to satisfy the demands of the American citizenry. When the public discourse is narrowed to a simplistic and politicized discussion of whether you are for or against Obamacare, viable alternatives and civic debate are stifled. Is it any wonder that people are increasingly tuning out the reform debate?

Few people believe in either a fully laissez-faire (pay your way) system or total government control of medical care. Moderation is the rule, but the binary discourse has made moderation a dirty word. As a result, the more palatable solutions to a pressing problem are lost in favor of two unsavory extremes. My hope is that as the reform debate rages on, moderates will succeed in redefining the issues to better reflect the values of ordinary Americans.


annick said...

you are a chick, ergo non amicus sed amica curiae es.

Eva said...

My Latin is weak, my dear; please to translate for me :) (How's Vic treating you btw?)

luc von carrot said...

I think the real issue is what kind of devil lies in the details. If don’t want the sheeple to understand, it obviously must be rather nasty. As to moderation, i guess it can only be possible if you first know the extremes.

annick said...

ergo = therefore
non = not
amicus = friend (masculine)
sed = but
amica = friend (feminine, you!)
curiae = court (genitive, of the)
es = to be (second person singular indicative present active)

te amo.

luc von carrot said...

speaking of healthcare, interesting watch:


Eva said...

Luc - I can't say that I agree with most of what Stossel says, but that video series certainly looks intriguing. I'll have to give it a watch sometime.