September 12, 2006 11:13AM

Health Care Quality: Sharpening the Differences

Ezra Klein wants patients to receive the highest quality health care possible. So do I. Klein thinks that patients are “easily fooled” when it comes to health care quality. So do I. Klein thinks “panels of experts should watch over health care decisions.” So do I. 

Klein thinks that politicians should empanel and watch over those experts. I think that multiple panels should compete to provide patients with the best information, which patients could take or leave.

I worry that if politicians lead the pursuit of quality, the pursuit of quality will become infected by politics. Klein kind of agrees.

Klein proposes to get around that sticky wicket by prohibiting Americans from contributing to politicians they like. I think it’s an odd health care agenda whose success requires shredding the First Amendment.

Klein thinks patients are ignorant about quality, and thinks politicians should insulate patients from the costs of their medical decisions. I think insulation from costs breeds ignorance about quality.

An elderly woman presents with abdominal pain from ingesting a spider. Klein’s prescription: one bird and one cat, to be administered orally. Cannon’s prescription: induce vomiting.