27 June 2009 • 12:29 pm

Economist: U.S. Health Care Reform is ‘Going to Hurt’

Today’s brief (some might say lazy) Saturday post points you to a concise piece in The Economist, an esteemed publication I admire for the quality of its writing, if not always for it’s political views.

What distinguishes The Economist’s writing from all of the noise and posturing is both its incisiveness and its moderation. Their introductory piece is a worthwhile five-minute read that summarizes the key issues without getting bogged down in rhetoric. And their Photo-shopped picture of Barack Obama might make you smile.


The contestants are now entering the political field of battle on perhaps one of the largest change initiatives in recent history, reform of the sadly dysfunctional U.S. healthcare system, and there is no shortage of rhetoric and posturing from pretty much everyone involved, as well as the media. The debate this summer and autumn will occupy the headlines and much of the blogosphere. I am only visiting the subject occasionally here, but we are all wise to watch the proceedings for lessons to be learned. Here’s an excerpt (emphasis added):

This summer’s debate about health care may determine the success of Barack Obama’s presidency. What should he do? If he were starting from scratch, there would be a strong case (even to a newspaper as economically liberal as this one) for a system based mostly around publicly funded health care. But America is not starting from scratch, and none of the plans in Congress shows an appetite for such a European solution. America wants to keep a mostly private system—but one that brings in the uninsured and cuts costs. That will be painful, and require more audacity than Mr Obama has shown so far.

Of course, change initiatives never start from scratch, and the political management of entrenched interests is an important ingredient in successful changes programs. So grab your snacks, pull up a chair, and watch the gladiators take the field.

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