09/07/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

An Objective, Evidence-Based Opposition to ObamaCare


U.S. health care is sick. Practicing good medicine on this critically ill system starts with empathy but none of the other, more voluble emotions currently on display like anger, name-calling and blaming. Good medicine requires objective evaluation of evidence, not depending solely on logic.

Popular science fiction author David Weber penned these wise words: "Logic is a way to err with confidence." Nowhere is this truer than in Congress' legislative actions: UMRA, HIPAA, CPSIA to the currently proposed AAHCA (newspeak name = America's Affordable Health Choices Act). Consider the evidence pro and con.

TennCare was a universal health care single payer approach analogous to AAHCA that was tried in the state of Tennessee starting in 1994. It became what then-Governor Bredesen called "a disaster." It nearly bankrupted the state; forced the governor to raise taxes, and to disenroll nearly 200,000 people; and ultimately required rationing the care of those who remained on the TennCare rolls.

The best person to evaluate AAHCA objectively is Phil Roe, MD. He was a practicing doctor (obstetrician) in Tennessee who later became a mayor and is now a first term congressman. He lived both sides of the TennCare nightmare. Practicing good objective, evidence-based medicine (on health care), the Congressman recently wrote, "The kind of universal care that TennCare embodied [should be placed] in the 'don't try again' column."

TennCare is strong evidence AGAINST passing AAHCA. Let us consider the evidence for its passage. ... I'm waiting. ... Still waiting. What has been offered as "evidence" is the president's statement that, "The system is broken." Though clearly true for health care, any assertion about the gravity and severity of a problem is not evidence for a proposed cure. The fact that health care is so sick does not support a treatment plan that will not work. That is like saying, "The patient is dying. We don't know why. Let's sprinkle Dr. Scholl's foot powder on her. It hasn't worked before but we have to do something!"

The highly vocal and emotion-laden support for AAHCA is ironic. I have previously described the ten root causes for high U.S. health care costs. Two add value to all of us: improved technology and more people living longer. The other eight add no value and waste hundreds of billions of dollars. Top of this waste list is "action without evidence," into which AAHCA unfortunately fits.

Whether you look at the scientific literature or simply everyday experience, one conclusion is crystal clear: making decisions without evidence that proves the decision will achieve the intended outcome is a sure-fire recipe for failure.

This leads to a straightforward, objective evidence-based conclusion: we should oppose ObamaCare and find a solution for health care that will work.

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