Ira Glass, host of the public radio program This American Life, recently announced, "Even die-hard news consumers have to admit this sad truth about the health care debate: It's usually really, really boring. I ask you, is there any writer in the English language gifted enough to compose an interesting sentence regarding the long-term financial health of Medicare? No, there is not." The Atlantic Wire disagrees.
To prove Ira Glass wrong, we gathered up ten interesting, compelling, thought-provoking sentences on health care from this week alone:
"The so-called 'Health Choices Commissioner' will be the closest the United States has come to having an absolute ruler since King George III."
--Robert Book, The Heritage Foundation, July 29th
"I'm afraid that instead of [TSA's] Security Theater, we'll get Health Care Theater, where the government goes to elaborate lengths to convince us that we're getting the best possible health care, without actually providing it."
--Megan McArdle, The Atlantic, July 28th
"Here we had a political majority in congress and a popular president armed with oodles of political capital and backed by the overwhelming sentiment of perhaps 150 million Americans, and this government could not bring itself to offend ten thousand insurance men in order to pass a bill that addresses an urgent emergency."
--Matt Taibbi, True/Slant, July 28th
"Something might get done. And if that something that gets done extends health-care coverage to 40 million people who don't now have it, that will be a big deal, and a big improvement in the lives of many, many Americans. It's important for people who get good health care and have the luxury of seeing this as an intellectual and political project to keep that in mind."
--Ezra Klein, Washington Post, July 28th (responding to Taibbi)
"At a time when medical science offers the hope of major improvements in the treatment of a wide range of dread diseases, should Washington be limiting the available care and, in the process, discouraging medical researchers from developing new procedures and products? Although health care is much more expensive than it was 30 years ago, who today would settle for the health care of the 1970s?"
--Martin Feldstein, The Washington Post, July 28th
"Pretty much everybody who believes that health care should be a human right, not a commercial commodity, and who makes a serious study of the abstract substance of the matter, concludes that the best solution would be (to borrow Obama's words at the press conference) 'what's called a single-payer system, in which everybody is automatically covered.'"
--Hendrick Hertzberg, The New Yorker, July 27th
"Should doctors determine not only their patients' treatment but also their own pay, through the fee-for-service system that has survived since the 1920s?"
--David Leonhardt, The New York Times, July 25th
"We are living in a time in which educated people who are at the top of American life feel they have the right to make very public criticisms of . . . let's call it the private, pleasurable but health-related choices of others."
--Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, July 25th
"A costly mandate on businesses designed to reduce the number of American workers without health insurance would likely swell the ranks of those who are simultaneously uninsured and unemployed -- aggravating the very crisis it is ostensibly designed to address."
--John Fund, The Wall Street Journal, July 25th
"There is a big difference between finding islands of excellence [such as the Mayo Clinic] and creating a national system based on them."
--David Brooks, The New York Times, July 23rd
It's true, health care debate can get wonky. But as The New Republic writes today in a staff editorial, "While these discussions may not always make for scintillating television--more than one commentator came away from Barack Obama's prime-time press conference complaining about the professor-in-chief's tedious explanations--in many ways, the focus on arcane legislative details is a good thing."
Incidentally, This American Life's recent report on one controversial element of health care reform contained several highly interesting sentences as well.