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August 19, 2009


Civil libertarian Nat Hentoff weighs in.

Asking what results are likely to happen rather than asking about the contents of a particular bill, is not a bug; it's a feature.

When the goal is to have statements that are unabiguously true or false, it's convenient to have a list of truths. E.g., actuarial examinations contain questions asking whether certain items are on a particular list in the readings.

The contents of a particular bill can serve as such a list. A given provision is either in or not in a particular bill. So, it's convenient for Brendan to evaluate comments and beliefs based on the provisions of a particular bill.

OTOH the American public is concerned about what will actually happen to their health care. So, it makes more sense to ask what's likely to happen. When writing actuarial exams we avoided questions like this, because there was no clear-cut right answer.

Earlier comments have pointed out some reasons why the current contents of a particular bill are an insufficient guide to what health care will ultimately look like:

-- amendments to the various bills
-- modifications during House-Senate reconciiliation
-- subsequent laws related to health care
-- judicial decisions
-- economic considerations will force changes
-- Robert Reich's point that the current bills don't even pretend to be concrete proposals.

P.S. The fact that we don't know what's going to happen is itself an argument against Health Care Reform. We're buying a pig in a poke.

You can't make this stuff up. President Obama, in a call to one thousand rabbis yesterday, stated, "We are God's partners in matters of life and death," and noted that the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is when it's decided "who shall live and who shall die."

What's worse than a bureaucrat deciding who shall receive life-saving treatment and who shall not? A bureaucrat who believes he's acting as God's partner.

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