Over at the Hasting Center’s new “Values and Health Reform Connection,” blog Joanne Kenen’s candid post, “Honest Debate, and Candid Solutions” caught my eye. I recommend it to HealthBeat readers. (Kenen writes The New America Foundation’s “New Health Dialogue Blog.") Below, an excerpt:
“Liberty. Justice, Responsibility, Solidarity.
“These are some of the American Values highlighted in the Hastings Center’s report on Connecting American Values with Health Reform.
“Watching health reform unfold here in Washington, however, that ‘Connection’ is painfully elusive. The debate is not a careful calibration of competing rights, values and obligations. It’s a political moshpit. Instead of values, we have vitriol.
“Outside of Washington, even extremely astute people ask me why we can’t fix a health care system that is inefficient, inequitable and downright inexplicable.
“I patiently explain that this fight is not purely about policy (or values). Health policy becomes a gritty proxy for politics.
“Values, or at least ideology – particularly about the size and reach of government – play a role in politics. But an awful lot of what passes for policy debate is trench warfare before the next election. Look at the list of amendments proposed for any of the major bills – and ask yourself how many are meant to improve the health and well-being of the American people and the American economy, and how many are meant to score points, woo donors, placate interest groups and create a C-Span moment.” [my emphasis]
To read the rest of Kenen’s essay, click here.