John P. Geyman, Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in an article that was not about health care reform, nevertheless asked a few excellent questions about health care reform. I quote him here, from the journal Family Medicine:
The political debate over health care is focused more on peripheral issues than more fundamental, still unanswered questions. These include:
• Who is our health care system for? (ie, patients versus corporate stakeholders on the supply side)
• Should our health care delivery system be driven by a for-profit business model based on ability to pay or by a not-for-profit service model based on medical need?
• What is the role of government in setting health policy and providing checks and balances to the health care market?
All excellent questions, but the first one is especially trenchant; on its answer depends what one believes about health care reform. Who is our health care system for? And that question depends on an even more fundamental, ethical question: Who should our heath care system be for?