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The primary difference between those who promote market-based health care reform and the people who prefer a government-imposed solution is their respective opinions of the customer’s intelligence.
The former believe that patients are capable of critical thinking while the latter think we are too dumb to know what’s good for us. An excellent example of the patients-are-dumb view can be found at Health Beat:
85 percent of Americans report being satisfied with the quality of care they receive—despite the fact that patients get, on average, just 55 percent of the care that experts recommend for most major medical conditions.
For the post’s author, Niko Karvounis, the huge number of satisfied patients is not a sign that the system works reasonably well despite its flaws. It is, instead, proof that patient opinion should be ignored.
The lesson here is clear: if you really want to improve health care in the U.S., you need to look beyond superficial preferences and into the nitty-gritty of how health care is delivered in our system.
In other words, disregard the ”superficial preferences” of the customers and give them what the “experts” say they should have. This is seriously patronizing stuff.
And it gets worse. This post gets truly creepy when the purpose of polls is discussed. Karvounis apparently thinks “getting polling right” means using public opinion surveys as re-education tools:
Clearly we can’t expect polls to be the only—or even the central—way of educating the public on the relationship between care delivery and cost. But they could do a much better job at exploring if and how the public understands this relationship.
Er … Niko … the purpose of public opinion polls involves measurement. Legitimate enterprises use them to gauge public preferences so that products and services can be tailored to consumer needs.
Illegitimate enterprises use polls to manipulate public opinion so that shoddy merchandise (e.g. government-run health care) can be shoved down the customer’s throat.
Health care reform that ignores the opinions of the patients will produce a health care delivery system that will make our current system look like a Swiss watch by comparison.
Americans understand this, so Karvounis (and many other advocates of government-run health care) conclude that the hoi polloi just don’t get it. But the people are smarter than they think.
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August 31st, 2008 at 2:42 pm
Hmmm … we are supposed to pay attention and be persuaded of the goodness of state-run medicine when the people who live under it express their approval of it. But if anyone approves of medical care in the USA then it must be ignored as the simple product of self-interest, hard-heartedness, or ignorance.