Monday, October 19, 2009

Health Reform and the Common Good

Rosemary Flanigan
October 19, 2009

Dan Callahan, co-founder of the Hastings Center and still Senior Researcher and President Emeritus, in an article in Commonweal, “America’s Blind Spot” identifies the lack of a sense of the common good as the “blind spot” in all our talk of healthcare reform.

We have heard of “justice” and “rights” as the language of reform, but the radical individualism of our U.S. culture overrides such principles. “We are told,” he says, “that the market system that brings us prosperity, jobs, and a cornucopia of cheap consumer goods will also work its magic in health care if we let it, never mind that there is no good evidence to support that leap from commerce to health care.”

There is no widespread agreement about the role of government in healthcare reform. Think of all the taunts of “socialized medicine”—yet close to half of American healthcare is government-supported—mainly through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration. Admonitions by supporters of reform that “we’re all in this together” is a flabby underpinning to Aristotle’s insight about our very nature as “social beings” and thus our need to look out for one another’s good.

So we limp along in our efforts. Dan says, “I have not painted a hopeful picture about the common good in American health care. That simply does not seem possible.” Sad but true.

Meanwhile, the Center continues its series—this coming Tuesday will be “Bending the Cost Curve: Increasing Revenues and Decreasing Costs” with Dr. Marcia Nielsen, Ph.D., from KU and a panel of physicians and an actuariest (is there such a word???)
Link: America’s Blind Spot: Health Care & the Common Good, Daniel Callahan, Commonweal
October 9, 2009



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