Obamacare debate: Both sides agree on goal, not method

Last week, I participated in a debate about Obamacare hosted by the Project for Deeper Understanding held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Park City. Liana Teteberg, physician assistant, and Judi Hilman, executive director of Utah Health Policy Project, argued in favor of the federal health care law while Dr. E.J. Raven, chiropractor, and I argued against it. You can watch the debate here:


The debate was lively and to the point while also civil. Trying to come to a “deeper understanding” of others’ views on any important issue is a worthy and vital goal.

As for the arguments in the debate, I came away with two overriding messages: 

  1. We all have the same goal. Whether we support Obamacare or not, we would all like to see every American have access to quality, affordable health care. This fact is essential to remember in debates about health care. Despite this, we have different views on what steps will actually lead to this common goal, which brings me to message No. 2.
  2. What role government should play is the key difference in the health care debate. Those who support Obamacare seem to have an inherent trust in government, that government is capable of and necessary for solving our health care problems. They might even advocate for government running the entire health care system. They also believe states are less than capable of crafting sound health care policy on their own and, therefore, the federal government needs to intervene and can do better. In contrast, those against Obamacare believe that if government would get out of the way, then individuals, nonprofits and businesses in the private sector could solve most of our health care problems today. Of course, even with a true free market system of health care some people still wouldn’t be able to afford the care they need, which is why Sutherland has proposed an “authentic charity care” initiative for the state. They also believe that any necessary government involvement should come from the most local level of government possible, which means rare federal intervention, if any.

What do you think? What role should government play in health care?

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  • Pololucio

    Just one suggestion !

    Can you put in a dual  scale the pros and the cons of each side  ??

    And also I think the “charity” word does not work. Can you find a synonymous word ??

  • rmwarnick

    “We would all like to see every American have access to quality, affordable health care.”  OK, stop right there.  The right-wing Republicans have spent years telling us that the American health care system (so-called) is the best in the world, and that there is no health care crisis – if you’re sick, go to the nearest emergency room, they say.  The right refuses to acknowledge that 50 million Americans without health insurance is a problem, because they claim insurance is affordable now.  Even with insurance, most of the middle class is one major accident or illness away from bankruptcy.  None of this is viewed as something that needs fixing.

    • Matthew Piccolo

      Thanks, rmwarnick. What do your comments have to do with the first statement you quoted?

      • rmwarnick

        It’s not truthful to imply that Republicans are interested in health care reform, because they have always denied there is a crisis.

      • rmwarnick

        It’s not truthful to imply that Republicans are interested in health care reform, because they have always denied there is a crisis.

  • Mike Day

    I believe that the government should not dictate that every American have health care.  The government should do all that it can to let the private sector work.  It is not the proper role of government to demand that employers insure their employees.  If the government allowed individuals more access to their monies, I believe that individuals would be allowed to choose what health care options would be best for them. 

    Part of the problem of health care is due to the high costs.  The high cost of malpractice insurance plays a vital role in these costs.  I have friends who practice medicine who state that this is making the costs rise at rates much faster than inflation.  Multimillion dollar lawsuits oftentimes are a reflection of our own greed. 

    Our entire financial system can work if 1)individuals are allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labor without crushing taxation, 2)individuals that “have” give to those who do not of their own free will, 3)every individual, rich and poor, contribute to the best of their ability.  The poor need to stop coveting the wealth of the rich, and the rich need to stop coveting their own property.  This property is not ours anyway- it is not the governments either- all property belongs to God.  Rights come from God, not man.  If we viewed  property the way heaven views it, then our system would work properly.  Right now our nation is simply embroiled in class warfare with greed being manifest from both sides- the haves and the have nots.

  • D Cheever

    The less involvement that the federal govt has, the better off we will ne as a nation. We need to return to the states rights roots of our nation. No one size fits all plan will ever solve the problem.

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