Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bob Wachter on physician payment reform

Go read Bob Wachter's post about physician payment reform and accountability in local health care systems. Some great insights there. Careful, though, that you don't confuse substance with tone. After asking readers to get over the August silliness and move the discussion beyond the third grade level he said this:

Americans are often characterized, and sometimes lampooned, as being a selfish breed. Our tolerance of 45 million uninsured is seen by many around the world as a reflection of this trait; other nations prize the commons over the individual (and are willing to make the tradeoffs required to generate the resources to provide universal coverage), while America is all about “me”. Yet most of us would give our lives for our kids, community service and charity are strong American traditions, and most Americans are highly devoted to their colleagues and their communities. What is true is that in our huge, chaotic, melting pot of a society, relatively few people (they’re called unabashed liberals, if you can find ‘em) will voluntarily make significant sacrifices for faceless “others”. We’re willing to give things up for our neighbor, but not somebody else’s neighbor.

Americans are inherently more selfish and liberals inherently more altruistic, eh? Maybe Bob didn't really mean to say that but he came pretty close. By the way, I thought that individual-over-the-commons thing was a Judeo-Christian value.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Individual over the commons is not Judeo-Christian; it's a purely Christian concept. Judaism deals more with just how many standard deviations from the mean common good you cna and can't get away with...

Wachter made the comment "realtively few people will actually make significant sacrafices for faceless others."

Wachter calls those people "unabashed liberals" and then questions if such people actually exist.

I think they're called members of the armed forces but I'm not sure.