THE BLOG
11/30/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Experts Lock Horns Over Health Care Hot Topics

Does your health insurance cover overexposure to news media? There's certainly no shortage of punditry and rhetoric on the health care reform front, but with so much at stake it's time to take a truly deep dive into the most pressing health care reform issues.

NOW on PBS has created a new interactive forum called "Issue Clash" that not only features detailed arguments and rebuttals from eight qualified experts on four controversial topics, but also lets users vote for debate "winners" and add their own arguments.

Below are some of the topics and exchanges:

Will There Be Rationing?
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Michael Tanner, Senior Fellow, The Cato Institute

"There are only so many doctors, so many hospitals, and, most importantly, there is only so much money to go around."

vs.

Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University

"How do opponents of a government run plan explain the fact that in every country that has one, levels of satisfaction with the health care system are higher than they are in the U.S.?"

Enter this Debate

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What's Best for Seniors?
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Jim Martin, President, 60 Plus Association

"Mr. Rother correctly points out that seniors receive the bulk of health care services, which means that they have the most to lose--not gain--from reform that cuts resources while adding tens of millions of new participants."

vs.

John Rother, Executive Vice President, AARP

"Twice now, Mr. Martin has falsely noted that covering more Americans would hurt those with coverage. What he doesn't say is today's 46 million uninsured Americans already get care, they just get it in the most expensive ways--like ER visits--and taxpayers foot the bill."


Enter this Debate

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Should the Rich Pay More?
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Maggie Mahar, Fellow and Writer, The Century Foundation's HealthBeat blog

"Why is it fair to ask very wealthy Americans to help pay for health care reform? ...Thanks to the Bush administration's tax cuts for the rich, the wealthiest 1 percent pay five percent less than they did in 1995."

vs.

Phil Kerpen, Director of Policy, Americans for Prosperity

"When Washington wants to spend trillions of dollars, they can't wring much more out of the top 1 percent that already pay 40 percent of the taxes. One way or another, it will come from the middle class."

Enter this Debate

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Can It Reduce Costs?
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David M. Cutler, Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, Harvard University

"The trend in medical spending will create enormous problems for the economy if it continues unabated. Enacting reforms to change that trajectory is one of the highest priorities on the public agenda."

vs.

Robert A. Book, Senior Research Fellow and Health Economist, The Heritage Foundation

"The proposed bills would still leave us paying doctors for doing procedures rather than for keeping patients healthy, and would do nothing to make patients and providers consider the costs when comparing treatment options."


Enter this Debate

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This series of "Issue Clashes" complements PBS Special Report: Health Care Reform, an unprecedented collaboration between NOW on PBS, Nightly Business Report, and Tavis Smiley.