THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Can You Guess Who Said That?

Health care reform is a very highly politicized issue. As a result, our response to "information" is often heavily biased depending upon our view of the information's source. For example, I'm much more likely to believe something that I read or hear from someone I consider knowledgeable and trustworthy, and much less likely to believe something coming from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about or can't be trusted. The real problem though, is that I may well consider someone ignorant if they disagree with my views. We have this pesky tendency to do that, and we surround ourselves with information that simply serves to reinforce what we already believe. If I think that there's no such thing as global warming, I'm much more likely to listen to Rush Limbaugh scoff at the idea--to confirm that I am right--than I am to listen with an open mind to Al Gore who will either be wasting my time or might actually convince me that my positions are--GASP!--not entirely accurate.

So we live in our own little information bubble. But that's not good. We need to surround ourselves with other information. We need to encounter opposing arguments. In fact, doing so is fundamental to strengthening our own position, whatever it may be. In that spirit, I'm going to share with you a quote about our health care system. The catch, however, is that I'm not going to tell you who said it. Hopefully, that will force you to actually focus more on the content of what is being said, rather than jumping to conclusions right away based on its source (and no, it's not my own quote). If, after you read it, you want to guess who said it (without cheating), just leave your guess as a comment to this post. Okay, here it is:

"If you look at the health care challenge, it's part cultural. We are preconditioned to believe that we have the best in everything that matters. And in some sense our health care system is the best. We're great at cancer detection and treatment; we're great at managing crises and heart care--otherwise somebody else would be giving you this interview. We're really good at that, but a lot of the basic things we don't do very well, yet we don't know it. Then there's the economic problem, which is our employer-based system that made a lot of sense for the industrial era, but it also means that 50 percent or so of America's people get their health care through employee-based systems and only pay about a fourth of the real cost of it. So it's hard for them to focus on the fact that the reason they haven't gotten a pay raise in the last seven years is that their employers are having to take money that they earned that they wanted to give them as pay raises and put it into their health care. So I think we have imperfect knowledge on the part of otherwise rational voters, and I think we have cultural resistances in health care."

And hey, when you're making your guess about who said the above, why don't you also tell me whether you agree or disagree with the statement? This should be fun.

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