Friday, July 24, 2009

Reforming Without Understanding

After the president's press conference on healthcare reform, David Freddoso observed:
"With his example of the red and blue pills, and another about whether a child's hypothetical tonsils should be removed, President Obama unwittingly presents the real problem with his plan for reform. Here is a well-meaning government official who so fails to grasp the problem in health care that he can present such absurd oversimplifications and suggest that this sort of thing is the real problem .... If medical doctors with a decade of schooling cannot distinguish between good cures and ineffective ones that must be discontinued, then by gosh, we're lucky that the good folks from the government can."
I'm reminded of a conversation I had some months ago after a friend read a piece of mine on healthcare reform.

She works in the insurance industry. She knew all kinds of things I didn't know, cleared up some misunderstandings, and clarified some things that were fuzzy.

And revealed what she didn't know about the hospital side of things, which I tried to clear up for her.

Since then I've heard some of my earlier misconceptions echoed by my coworkers, even doctors.

This has helped me realize that I only get to see one piece of the problem up close, and everyone else is in the same boat.

Well, everyone except the folks who are up to their elbows in healthcare reform bills. They're lawyers; they don't get to see any of this up close.

But the human condition is such that they don't realize how little they know. We're all like that. But politicians, from my observation, seem to be a little worse. They hold their hearings and ask questions of experts, but those questions all too often seem to be designed to show how smart they are, not to learn from the expert.

So I wonder just how much our elected representatives (and their staffers who actually write most of the bills) really understand what they're tinkering with. And I wonder if they realize the dangerous game that they're playing.

But maybe they do. That's why they've made sure they won't be part of whatever system they give us.

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