Appraising health reform

Blogging is a fantastic medium for providing a brief statement of your views. Or for building an argument involving a small number of points. Or, perhaps, for giving a high level summary of a more complex argument.

But it’s not a great medium through which to appraise complex arguments or carefully weigh the evidence. Where a blog draws explicitly on evidence it tends to draw on one or two studies to illustrate its point. For some purposes that works just fine. But for others it can be misleading. It can give the impression that there is a robust evidence base to back up the points being made, whereas in fact the evidence is being cherry-picked. The weight of evidence may lie with the other side of the argument. Or, more likely, the evidence does not offer many simple messages.

A couple of weeks ago I made this point in the comment thread on a blog post about competition and choice in public service reform. It wasn’t entirely warmly received by some other commenters. [Read more...]