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Facebooking-off on health

John Kitzhaber, the former Democratic Oregon governor who’s seeking a third term, tried something a little different this afternoon: A Facebook discussion on health care. People would post and comment, and Kitzhaber would weigh in with comments and some answers to questions. It may be a useful direction for his and other campaigns to come.

The results in this case? So-so. The participants around the spectrum (and they were decidedly not all from the left) generally gave him praise for the effort, and the half-hour session did yield quite a few viewpoints. Kitzhaber’s own comments were intermittent and brief (some of that owing to the format), and often suggestive of bullet points.

Scanning through the comments overall, so many cry out for more explication. Bullet-points seem to be the mode of political and policy thought these days; facts are ammunition to fire at the other side. Some of the participants didn’t seem to have an interest in putting the pieces together, though a minority did. And some of it wandered off into the mists of political philosophy, where such matters as solving problems based on facts-on-the-ground often get left behind.

Consider this exchange (in which Kitzhaber doesn’t appear):

Jeff Reynolds: Gov. Kitzhaber, with all due respect, have you ever studied the effects of government intervention into private health care, and whether the extensive proposals of free market based plans would be of more or less efficacy than simply increasing governmental involvement?

Jeffrey D Sher: This seems less like a question and more like an opinion dressed as a question.

Jeff Reynolds: Actually, it’s a question. You can tell by the question mark. There are LOTS of other plans besides the public option, you know.

Andrew Plambeck: Isn’t “with all due respect” a euphemism for “I have absolutely no respect for your opinions and will express that in the following?”

Andrew Plambeck: And there is no one in either the state or national health care reform debate pushing for “simply increasing governmental involvement.” To characterize it as such is ludicrous.

Rob Rollinger@ Jeffrey: This seems more like an accusation than a comment

Larry McDonald: No Andrew, that would be your side that has that opinion. You know, “We won, so what you think dosent matter.” Private markets always do better than government. Think USPS and UPS.

Jeff Reynolds: Andrew, you can feel free to interpret my words however you wish, but my question is for the former Governor, not you.

T.A Hope Barnhart: i’m sorry, when was the “free market” removed from the health care/insurance system? did someone shut down Cigna & BlueCross when i wasn’t looking this morning? the “free market” has had a little over 200 years to get this right, and they’ve made a fracking mess of things. i trust my govt more than “their” corporations.

Klari Crabtree: Why is government intervention into healthcare defined exclusively as the only option being a public one? That’s like saying that intelligent design and evolution are mutally exclusive ideas. Government can intervene in healthcare while keeping private entities from profiting on the little guy who is just trying to make it. Look at the Swiss system for gosh sakes.

Leisha Wharfield: I think any question expressed in a civil manner, whether or not it reveals an opinion, should be respected and considered.

Larry McDonald: The Swiss system? They are the size of Oregon?

T.A Hope Barnhart: Klari, intelligent design & evolution are mutually exclusive. i.d. is proposed specifically to deep-six evolution. i have yet to hear anyone propose how leaving profits in the system will lower costs. if the govt runs the system, and providers are paid fairly, and there is no profit built-in — the entire system comes out ahead. or did i miss something during my years in retail when we added our mark-ups?

Larry McDonald: T.A., open the windows. The paint fumes are getting to you.

T.A Hope Barnhart: thanks, Larry. you ask people to be civil and then make a comment like that? and you wonder why people get snarked off?

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