The health of the health care system will affect you as professionals and as citizens for a long time to come. But if you’re not political activists on the left or the right, there’s a good chance that, like many busy people, you’ve grown pretty sick of the daily news on the topic. Why? Here’s an excerpt from an excellent post on what’s missing from the news and why this means that so-called up-to-the-minute news can hide the real story as often as it can reveal it:
At the scale of news, almost every story looks complicated. Health reform is an impossible-to-follow morass of Congressional committees, policy proposals, industry talking points, and think tank reports. Pull back the lens a bit, however, and you see a fairly straightforward story whose basic contours haven’t changed all that much since 1994.
There is a universe of facts that stay essentially fixed from day to day. Tomorrow, we can be virtually certain that the three basic problems health reform seeks to solve will remain the same as they were last year: effectiveness, cost, and access to care. . . .
It’s a complicated topic, there’s no denying it, but a little research can reveal a great deal. You read, and suddenly some of the terms become clear, or mostly clear. You see the forest instead of the trees. You see that the forest has a shape. You retain this shape in your mind the next time you find yourself set down among the trees. You feel oriented. The topic gets more interesting and engaging because you don’t feel so irritated, bored, and confused. And maybe the next time you hear a news story you don’t just react to it with the same old emotions and assumptions. Or you don’t just tune it out.
Or at least that’s how it is for me. A particularly good trick: try out different sources, including some that contradict your own instinctive leanings. Here’s a varied collection of links on the topic that we noted here a while back. You’ll never read them all, but some night, turn off the evening news or that Law and Order rerun (or leave behind your Facebook page), pick one or two of these sources at random, and give them a try. What sources do you trust? Why?
Jacob Molyneux, senior editor