Casualty of the Health Care Debate

Photo by The One True b!x

Photo by The One True b!x/Flickr

There exists another casualty of the health care debate: information literacy.

Regardless of the side of the debate that one subscribes to (but seen more noticeably by health care opponents), there exists a litany of misinformation paraded around as fact when a simple search through a newspaper, the internet, or other contemporary news source would immediately refute it. As a librarian, it pains me to see so many individuals failing to do the most basic of vetting when it comes to claims about health care reform. Has society grown so lazy as to accept wild and outrageous allegations on their face value? Has critical examination of presented evidence in a political forum become passe? For all the people who make assertions about not trusting politicians, they should expand that same policy to those who make recitations in the political arena. Rigorous political debate is a proud heritage of this country, but when participants spout proven falsehoods as fact, it is downright embarrassing.

I’m certain there are people in the health care debate forum who also decry the state of our education system, but they themselves are not a role model for the information literacy that they want for their children and grandchildren. Politically charged soundbites, chain propaganda emails, and rife word of mouth speculation do not replace an actual education on an issue as important as health care.

2 thoughts on “Casualty of the Health Care Debate

  1. I agree on a lack of information literacy and expand it to include the use of critical thinking skills.

    So much debate is going on pointing out how bad the collectivist approach of the Obama/Democrats will be for our health care, but where is the advocacy of a workable solution?

    Here is a brief outline of where we need to go with US health care:

    The Modern Health Care Solution

    We need to reset our health care system back to a free-market, patient-driven system. Every other successful part of our society runs this way- why not our health care for goodness sake?! We need:

    1. Market-based pricing of health care. We need medical Care/Service/Procedures priced up front like everything else in our society- not the price/cost black-boxes of today’s employer and government-subsidized health care.

    2. Minute-clinics and similar no-appointment, transparently-priced clinics are going in the right direction of delivering this concept:

    http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2006/01/23_zdechlikm_coninfo/

    3. Just like with the fair, portability of pre-tax 401k’s, we need fair, portable pre-tax health savings accounts for everyone to save their own money over time, make their own decisions on health care, and pay it with their own money.

    4. Make health care ‘insurance’ back into actual insurance. Couple health savings accounts with high-deductible catastrophic health insurance policies that people buy like they do for life insurance or car insurance.

    5. Reform the medical malpractice system and the laws driving it. In some cases, up to 25% of the cost of individual health care is extra tests and procedures run by doctors to ‘bullet proof’ themselves from malpractice lawsuits.

    The above approach gives everyone the access, proper control, and choice over their health- not the opposite helplessness dictated by some far away, faceless bureaucrat.

  2. So very very VERY true.

    Fear is a huge motivator, and in this instance, it has motivated 10s of thousands of people to throw off any sense of skepticism about the information they are being fed.

    The trouble is, that even if information was even MORE available than it is now – people would go to the same off center sources online as they choose to watch on cable.

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