Concerns About Health Care Cut Through

Today I’m in Dayton to meet with some folks at the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute. One of the things we’ll be talking about is an online version of an issue guide about how we can pay for health care in America.

Last weekend I led a candidate training program run by the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. One of the sessions was a mock interview, where candidates were grilled by a panel of professional, veteran reporters. The reporters are there to ask as hard a set of questions as possible.

One candidate is a physician and is running on health care issues. It was very interesting to watch how this changed the demeanor of the reporters — at least for one of them (the one who previously had been the most confrontational). This reporter became immediately interested in a conversation that went in-depth into the give-and-take and tradeoffs behind a number of choices facing Americans today.

Just a few minutes before, this reporter had criticized a candidate bluntly for a gaffe. Suddenly he had become a thoughtful, meditative  interlocutor.

I don’t know why this happened, but it struck me. Maybe health care is an issue that cuts through even the most hard-bitten and can spur thoughtful dialogue.

What other issues might do the same?

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