Anecdotes unleashed as reform battle heats up

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press takes a look at the avalanche of anecdotes used as ammunition by both sides in the health care reform debate. Organizations have been stockpiling anecdotes, sometimes for decades, and their pervasiveness in the health care showdown raises the specter of “policy by anecdote” in which a few outlying examples obscure broader, more complicated concepts like “which policy will do the most good for the most people?”

Fittingly, Johnson begins her own story with an anecdote, of a carpenter injured when his pickup truck rolled over who allowed his story to be used by an advocacy group (see the Youtube video here).

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