Monday, September 21, 2009

Listen to the Experts

It is terrible that so many politicians make policy decisions to pacify ignorant and misled mobs instead of using the accurate information available to make the best decisions for our country. I cringe when I catch what passes for television news these days, a bunch of polls and tweets from random people presented as if they should be used to guide our government's policies. Those people don't know what they're talking about!

Here's a neat table comparing the opinions of the informed to those of the random. The average person is selfish and ignorant, and wants unlimited care for herself, not understanding the costs, consequences, or relative quality. They care about anecdotes instead of real data on the quality of a doctor or treatment. They don't understand what variance is, let alone its relevance in health care. They trust their heavily biased and marginally informed doctors.

It is hard to explain the details of health care economics to the average person. It is hard to explain why we should have fewer treatments and more tracking of patients and doctors. It is hard to explain why hospitals should have fewer high-tech machines. It is easier to explain why drug companies are evil and doctors shouldn't be so free to refer patients to clinics the doctors own stake in. Overall, the complexity and scope of health care is overwhelming and confusing to the average person who just wants some security.

The convergence of the expert opinions is good for the country. Trust the experts (in aggregate, not just the few who talk on Fox News). We want everyone to have security, just like you want for yourself. We want costs to be low, and quality to be high. We don't want people bankrupted by an illness. We don't want patients exploited. We don't want the nation's deficit to grow. Not only do we have these goals, we have the knowledge and skills to see how to achieve them. We just need everyone else to stop holding us back.

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