I sure am glad you brought this topic up, so thank you for this question. Healthcare policy is one of the most important issues the medical community faces today, and I would gladly give you my thoughts on what could be done to fix it, right after you tell me yours.
See, with my low GPA and average MCAT scores, I really can’t afford to mess up this interview, so you can see why I wouldn’t want to say anything you’d disagree with. So if you could just say what your thoughts on this complex and controversial topic are, I think you’d find that we would be in total agreement, save for the small, ultimately inconsequential nuance I would change so as to not appear completely sycophantic. Unless you disagreed with that. In which case, I would aggressively retract my stupid, stupid thought.
Anytime you’re ready. Nothing? That’s fine, I’ll just read your face for microexpressions reacting to what I am saying in real time and go from there.
Obviously, Obamacare was… a… disast… succe… it needed work? I’m going to go with the noncommittal, bipartisan answer because I can’t tell exactly how you feel about it yet, and I really need to nail this so I can get into medical school and never have to think about healthcare policy again.
That’s all to say that I don’t have what one would call a “fully formed” opinion on healthcare policy. But what a great learning opportunity this is! For you, at least. This is your chance to sell me on your opinion of a subject that I probably should have researched before today. I’m a blank slate, a chunk of unmolded clay! My only thoughts on healthcare consist of this list of buzzwords culled from impassioned think pieces that occasionally pop up on my Facebook newsfeed: single payer, Medicaid expansion, Big Pharma invented cancer. Frankly, I have no idea what any of that means, let alone its impact on the American healthcare system or the American people. I do know, however, that if you say many of those words in a row with a wry smile and ironic inflection, you can hold your own in a healthcare policy conversation at your fiancée’s niece’s 3rd birthday party, at least until they cut the cake.
Come to think of it, do you really want my opinion on how to fix the healthcare system? I can tell you right now that you definitely don’t want me spearheading that think tank. I learned last year that you can schedule doctor’s appointments ahead of time instead of just waiting until you’re sick enough to go to the emergency room.
Yes, I realize that I do need to actually answer your question. Well, in my personal experience — that is, in the experience of two cardiovascular surgeons I overheard as they walked past my volunteer post at the hospital front desk — Obamacare is bad. Obviously, some parts are good, but — was that an eyebrow raise? Was that for “Obamacare is bad” or “Obamacare is good”? And do your eyebrow raises typically mean “I vehemently disagree” or “Compelling point, please continue”? I’d love for you to give me something to work with here because honestly, my misunderstanding of Obamacare is as vast as the list of all the preexisting conditions you need in order to qualify for it.
Still nothing? FINE. In my opinion, I think some people could argue that there might possibly be benefits, perhaps, to universal healthcare, but other people, however, could argue that the opposite is also maybe true. Conceivably.
For example, I recently completed a grueling medical mission in a small Mexican village called Puerto Vallarta. In a stroke of pure irony, on the last day of my trip, I was the one who fell ill, which I suspected was from dehydration due to excessive alcohol consumption in the combination hot tub/sauna the night before. As I lay in my poolside cabana, rehydrating myself with watered-down house margaritas, I wondered why the other people patronizing this five-star resort were not similarly cabana-ridden. Weren’t they, too, participants in the tequila-tasting contest and symposium held in the same combination hot tub/sauna the night before? Then it occurred to me: Mexico has universal healthcare. What a privilege it was to see such a healthy and robust people and experience firsthand how other cultures confront illness.
You seem to be glancing at your watch more and more frequently, which indicates to me that this interview is going poorly. But I can’t be too sure: Did you like my answer? You’d be doing me a real solid here if you could give me like, a head nod or nostril flare or something so I could tell whether to completely backtrack or not. I’ll even take a furrowed brow. A sharp exhale? Dilated left pupil?
You are inscrutable. How is anyone supposed to succeed in medicine if they can’t practice completely disavowing any concept of independent thought in exchange for a chance at career advancement?
Actually, if you think about it, wasn’t that, in some ways — if you really think about it — a valid answer to your question?
No? Fair enough.
Now that I have given an entire three minutes of lip service to your question, tiptoeing around giving a concrete answer because you refused to reveal your personal beliefs, how would you like to hear about how much I like science and want to help people?