Recovery is real. Reform is abstract.

Illness swept through my family. My daughter had influenza symptoms that recurred at least twice. (To our surprise, it was not H1N1.) Then my wife caught it and her condition worsened until she had pneumonia. Between the two of them, treatment included:

8 office visits
2 blood tests (mostly for white count)
2 Z-Pak (azithromycin) prescriptions
nasopharyngeal swab H1N1 test
3 chest x-rays
1 Levaquin prescription
At the time, did we really care about cost? No. We have health insurance that enabled us to receive treatment. And all that mattered was that eventually they would both be fine.

A series of EOBs and invoices are arriving. Soon we'll discover our out-of-pocket costs. We'll pay them and move on. A perfect system? No. But we got what we wanted.

And that's one of the greatest challenges of healthcare reform. We're willing to settle for what we have as long as our experience is reasonable and outcomes are acceptable. We're reluctant to risk making changes to achieve abstract concepts such as affordability, sustainability, efficiency, value, efficacy, universality and equity.

Americans will demand and debate healthcare reform, but in the end, their response is likely to be "keep your hands off my healthcare."

— Tom DeSanto


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