Experts, but of what?

We all have opinions about health care, so what makes someone a health care expert? The media doesn’t appear to know.

After the lower house of congress voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, newspapers throughout America have reported the reactions of their local “health care experts.”

On May 4th, 2017, Lauren Sausser and Mary Katherine Wildeman, writing for The Post and Courier,  reported how “South Carolina health care experts react to House vote on Obamacare replacement bill.”

So, who are these “health care experts?”

Sheilli Quenga,the Palmetto Project’s “director of programs” works for an NGO that deals with poverty.

Ray Farmer is a government cabinet member, directing the state’s department of insurance.

Frank Knapp leads the Small Business Chamber of Commerce for South Carolina.

Christian Soura is the first “expert” that appears to specialise in health care. Soura is “vice president of policy and finance” for the state’s Hospital Association.  Previously he was the state’s Medicaid director. Still, he works more with numbers than with pathogens.

(Some of the article was rehashed by the Palmetto Business Daily on May 17th. The Business Daily only names Farmer and Quenga as health care experts, and confusingly cites the Chamber of Commerce as a source for Quenga’s comments.  I prefer the original in the Post and Courier.)

I enjoyed reading the opinions of some of the state’s leaders, but I would suggest one correction. Rather than calling these people “health care experts” call them “financial experts.” You don’t go to an economist when you have a sore throat, now do you.

I doubt you’d call upon any of these “health care” experts to help a sick patron at a restaurant, not even Soura. I think that most of these Sandlappers would be better qualified to comment on roads, building construction, school funding, food waste and other issues.

You don’t need to go to med school to be a financial expert, economist or an activist, and you don’t need to be a health care expert to understand the financial implications of health policy. But, to be a health care “expert” you should know something about how the human body works, beyond just how humans empty their pockets.

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