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06/19/17

Syllogisms

We are in a series exploring the idea of a single payer healthcare system.  Click here to find the prior posts.

The protasis, accurately established, must therefore necessarily produce the sumperasma.

No, you have not accidentally wandered into the wrong blog. And no, you smart alecks, we do not have a guest writer today.  It is just that given my self-imposed summer ban on consuming too much Washington DC news (consider it a mental, emotional and spiritual ‘cleanse’), I have more time for random explorations on the vast worldwide web.

In thinking about how to land this series, I found myself reading about the theoretical underpinnings of Aristotelian logic.  I told you it was a random wander.

Beyond any specific idea that Greek philosopher gave us, his greatest contribution might be in framing the syllogism as a form of argument.  It goes like this:

Certain things are supposed (the protasis), and if those are actually right and accurate, then something else must necessarily be so (the sumperasma).

This premise means this conclusion has to be.

Ergo…

If this, then that.

You get the picture.

But between the ‘premise’ and the ‘conclusion’ in a syllogism is a key phrase: results of necessity. The conclusion must be the only thing that can result from that premise.

Too often, this gets overlooked and people just start yelling in favor of their preferred conclusion, even if it really just one of many options to be considered. Their idea is not ‘necessarily so.’

So, we’re going to try to see if we can outline a good set of propositions with which most knowledgeable and reasonable people would agree, and then define a specific conclusion that must follow.  Then we’ll see where takes us.

First, the propositions:

  • The cost of healthcare in the US is unsustainably high.
  • Those costs are not evenly distributed across the population, to the point that for some people they could not pay for the care they need.
  • The majority of citizens share a moral conviction that, at some level, such an outcome is unacceptable.

Ergo, some form of cost sharing (transferring resources to those who cannot pay for their own care) is required.

Man, that was harder than I thought, trying to get a precise set of words to which most of you, regardless of your political views, would agree.  It felt like I was trying to write a grad school thesis that could get approved by a committee that otherwise would not agree on the color of the sky.

And I am sure I failed as there are obviously particulars in those words about which we could argue.  Heck, I am already arguing with myself about them.

But we’ll proceed in our processing of this series from the conclusion that some form of resource sharing from some to others is required.  If you have serious heartburn with that sumperasma, then drop me an email with your argument and I’ll be happy to post it here.

Now, where do we go from there?

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Tim Coan, ALN’s CEO, writes an insightful and witty blog three times a week about a variety of topics relevant to independent physician practices.

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