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The Shallow U.S. Healthcare Discussion in the Media

August 19, 2012

I admit I can be naïve at times. But all I could do was shake my head in disappointment after watching Meet the Press today.

The topic was the impact of the nomination of Paul Ryan on the national debate on the economy, Medicare, and the role of the government in our lives. They spent a good portion of the show talking about Medicare and seniors. I can now say I’ve seen what Mr. Ryan’s mother looks like, since they showed clips of her at a Republican rally in Florida.

What could have been a substantive discussion of the future of Medicare by the talking heads on the show turned out to be nothing more than a series of empty statements. They argued endlessly about $716 billion dollars being put in or put out of the program, made statements about seniors being protected or not, threw out phrases such as donut holes and Medicare Advantage, and made it clear neither party is willing to make any substantive changes now. The politics of the debate was more important than the debate.

Ted Cruz — the almost certain new U.S. senator from Texas after the fall elections — was on the show. He kept saying we need better leadership, but did not lead with any details of what he wants to change.

Once again the media screwed up another chance to encourage a more meaningful discussion of the role of healthcare in our lives, Medicare and otherwise. Instead, the best it could do is talk about writing checks for healthcare, not what the system should provide in the first place.

It looks like the media won’t lead this discussion, so who will?

Anybody interested in a symposium of concerned independent thinkers who will go around the country enabling a meaningful discussion of the issues we all must face to avoid bankrupting our children’s futures?

Just wondering. I’m probably being naïve again.

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2 Responses to The Shallow U.S. Healthcare Discussion in the Media

  1. Christopher Gregory on August 19, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I remember a couple of years ago when David Walker and company took a show on the road – called the Fiscal Responsibility Tour.

    Why not a tour on healthcare? It only takes a few with vision to start a movement.

  2. Laurence Bauer on August 20, 2012 at 8:12 am

    The talking heads and the legislators can not have a meaningful conversation because they do not understand this industry. Hospital administrators and insurance types also can not talk about this in a truly meaningful way because they only understand this industry from their perspectives.

    In my opinion, having a meaningful conversation will require physician leadership. And not all physicians could get out of their shoes to lead this conversation. There is need for thoughtful physician leadership, community by community, marketplace by marketplace and state by state (notice I left the federal level out) to lead this conversation.

    I think this would be a worthy project. Let me know if you are interested in exploring this idea.

    Larry Bauer

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