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October 6, 2014 - Kim Moore [see other posts]

Reality Still Exists? Facts or Fiction About the ACA

Reality Still Exists? Facts or Fiction About the ACA

I remain committed to the idea that the world is actually what we see, feel, touch, smell and hear (although my audio function may not be sufficient for total clarity). This reality can be quantified with representations such as numbers and words. Misperceptions can be corrected with the scientific method, the historical method and similar observational and intellectual activities built upon shared principles and careful application. My limited circle of acquaintances who actually studied philosophy probably can put me in some school of thought –perhaps outmoded or discredited—based on this statement. I simply know I believe that, subject to sensory and brain limitations, there is a shared reality which can be described and experienced.

This is increasingly a minority operational view in Kansas and America. We are particularly assaulted with this problem in the political season when history is rewritten, causation and association are blurred beyond recognition, and myths of non-mythic proportions (I am tempted to say “prevarications”) are shared to stimulate the appropriate base and move the undecided.

However, the problem so apparent during the political season is with us continually as ideologies of right, left and further extremes continue to clash. "Facts" are different on Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, and especially on the World Wide Web. One place this struggle is very apparent is the attempt to answer the question, “Is the Affordable Care Act Working?” The answers and even the subset of questions diverge more based on ideological and political predisposition than the actual methods used to gather the evidence. This particular issue was recently explored extremely well in an article on Vox.com: In conservative media Obamacare is a disaster. In the real world it's working. As a pull quote on that page emphasizes, "if all you're seeing is an endless procession of stories that seem to show Obamacare is a disaster, you're going to think Obamacare is a disaster."

When the ACA was first enacted, health philanthropies such as the Health Ministry Fund discussed how we could establish data sources and analytic capacity to monitor implementation of the ACA. I am glad the Health Ministry Fund decided not to proceed with this project. We could not have become a trusted source of information on this subject. Our mere openness to the evidence would have caused immediate rejection by the ACA haters. The fact that I personally do have some concerns with the ACA would not have made our studied and researched opinion any more or less acceptable than my half-baked opinions shared in this blog.

Yet, as a country, we really need to be focused on the right questions and the available, impartial evidence, whatever it says. Part of what an honest appraisal could permit would be changes—technical and substantive—in the ACA to address its deficiencies. This look at reality might cause real counter proposals to emerge for consideration.

I am going to share information on the ACA’s operation from time to time in this blog with a view to sharing evidence of answers to important questions, albeit information produced by others. Hopefully, we can all move from our ideological preconceptions and desires to an appraisal of this law based on reality. The future of our health care deserves that.