Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Painful Truths

Writing for The New Republic, Harold Pollack quotes a couple of folks who shared some painful observations about the realities facing prevention advocates in the health reform debate:

"Two colleagues of mine introduced a sad note of caution. Roseanna Ander noted the perennial political challenge: There is nothing more compelling than the elaborate rescue of a cute toddler, Baby Jessica, who falls down a well. And there is nothing more boring than debating whether to put a $500 fence around wells before any identified toddler falls in.

"McCormick Foundation Professor Jens Ludwig adds a dollop of Chicago bluntness:

"'The public health constituency includes every thoughtful person who understands the value of prevention. Yet to paraphrase Adlai Stevenson, that isn't enough. I recommend making these interventions much less efficient, to broaden and intensify their political support. President-elect Obama should figure out what a sensible public health investment would be--and then triple it. For example, authorizing legislation should outsource HIV testing to Halliburton, and require that every time someone is tested, a farmer, a corrections officer, a hunter, a teacher, a firefighter, an autoworker, a former hedge fund trader, a TV evangelist, and a diversity counselor must be present, at public expense.'

"This seems a tad cynical, but hey, it might work."


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