Rove and Dean Debate Healthcare, Shout at Each Other

It is said that if you want mushrooms, you have to go to the forest.  In respect to political issues, however, this is exactly the wrong advice–one would have to be quite naive to try to learn about a political issue from politicians (or pundits).  Last night Petek and I went to a Karl Rove/Howard Dean health care debate at Penn State.  Predictably Dean was in favor of reforming health care, and Rove was for maintaining the current system.  Beyond that, I doubt that anyone in the audience learned anything new or changed their mind.

Dean tried to avoid talking about health care as much as possible.   Towards the end of the debate, he asked the moderators if they had any questions that were not about health care.  He kept dropping the name “Barack” and telling the audience how “your generation” has to stay active in politics and be bipartisan.  Many of his comments ended in exhortations with fist shaking and a raised voice.  As to his remarks on health care, he mostly spoke of the outrages of “predatory  insurance companies”, and repeatedly brought up “a student in the audience” whose mother was denied coverage for some disease or other.

Rove, on the other hand, focussed exclusively on health care.  He might have been more persuasive if it wasn’t for the ridiculous statistics he kept quoting–and everything he said was laced with statistics.  For example, he said that 45% of physicians in the United States would quit if the senate health care bill passes.   He said that medicare rejects claims at a rate twice as high as private insurance companies.  The audience broke into laughter when Rove said that America has the best health care system in the world.

Several times during the debate, the moderators lost control as Dean and Rove yelled over and at each other.  One such dialogue is contained in the Centre Times article about the debate.  While it was fun to see a couple of grown men strutting and pretending to have hurt pride, by the end of the hour-long debate I kept checking my watch. You see, there is better entertainment on Hulu, and more information about health care reform on Wikipedia.


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