POLICY: Criticizing Jonathan Cohn

OK, it’s official. All this congratulatory fawing over Jonathan Cohn and his book Sick is getting to me, and I have a real criticism about him. And it’s the topic of my column over at Spot-on today–Jonathan Cohn is Way Too Nice.

By the way, Jon is coming round for breakfast later—I’m going to interview him and see if he’s able to defend himself from that charge. Perhaps he’ll turn out to have a vicious streak that I don’t know about.

5 replies »

  1. For the 80% who think it’s unfair for them to pay for the 20% – is the 80% just the 100% waiting to be the 20%?

  2. So the question for the free marketeers is, “Why do you want to raise taxes in order to transfer money from the poor and sick to people who are already richer and healthier than average?”
    matthew holt, thanks for this. your piece is brilliant, concise, and a one-two punch back. with dope facts.
    bookmarked it. delicious’ed it. just amazing FRAMING. love it.

  3. “the end result will still be the same: the 20% who make up the vast majority of healthcare expenditures will still be a drain on the remainder of society.”
    No. They’ll be blessed by the moral and social contract which says that no one should be denied medical treatment by virtue of their being too poor. That by banding together all our resources, we can make the whole stronger than its parts. That we can rely on others to help us, just as we would help them.
    Gad. You make this sound like “the devil take the hindmost.” Oh wait. This is America.
    Never mind.

  4. FYI: sorry, I didn’t mean for that to sound self-aggrandizing. I just meant that I started to type a comment but then it blossomed into something worthy of a post. I’m planning on linking to your spot-on piece as the reason for my post.

  5. Is it gauche to tell someone to read your blog for a response? Or rather, a response to a response, or lack thereof? Ok, now I’m just being confusing, but either way I’ll be posting this in my blog later on today (likely after I find supporting links):
    Lets say we have a doughnut. It can be any kind of doughnut you want, so long as it doesn’t have a filling. For the sake of argument let’s say it’s a toasted coconut, because those seem to be uniformly detested (except by yours truly of course).
    This doughnut represents all the economists debating healthcare reform. One half of the doughnut is made up of free marketeers, while the other half is made up of proponents of single payer systems. The two sides argue and frequently lob stones at one another but generally ignore the gigantic hole that stands between them, as well as the vast sums of money that tend to fall into the hole.
    This hole is overutilization, the pharmaceutical industry, self referrals, and generalized waste. In other words, every aspect of healthcare that could be controllable if the industry wasn’t filled with sacred cows.
    Everyone agrees we need to fix things. I tend to agree with those who believe that whatever direction we wind up taking the end result will still be the same: the 20% who make up the vast majority of healthcare expenditures will still be a drain on the remainder of society. Single payer systems just accept this whereas libertarian approaches tend to either ignore the problem or silently pretend that we’ll let those with expensive illnesses die off.
    Thus in the end the only difference between these approaches (unless you sincerely believe we as a society will feel comfortable throwing cancer patients out on the curb en masse) comes out to whose interests you’d rather put first: businesses or sick people.
    My point is that it doesn’t matter who’s first in line if you’re still going to come back to the same problem in the end. So what’s say we move on and start trying to fix the things we can change? Pretty please?