Phillip Longman is “a Senior Research Fellow with the New America, where he works on health care delivery system reform and issues related to market concentration. He is also the senior editor of Washington Monthly and a lecturer at Johns Hopkins, where he teaches health care policy.”
“His work on health care includes Best Care Anywhere: Why VA Health Care Would Work Better For Everyone, Third Edition, recently updated with a third edition,” continues his bio at the New America Foundation. “The book chronicles the quality transformation of the Veterans Health Administration and applies its lessons for reforming the U.S. health care system as a whole.”
Longman is an engaging, indeed inspiring speaker who has been a guest on this program as well as at the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University where I attended his lecture extolling the VA as a model for the future of American healthcare.
So he is in a tight spot. As are all of the reviewers of his book and sharers of his point of view. The VA, it turns out, is a disaster, a deeply corrupt and dangerous institution with what appears to be institutionalized criminality and widespread indifference to actual as opposed to bonus-eligible performance. To his credit, Longman joined me int he first hour of my program today to tell us his reaction to an IG report that essentially calls into question the central premise his work and all but guarantees that there won’t be a fourth edition of Best Care Anywhere.
My key question to him: Will he be willing to live with the data as it is, not as he wishes it would be? The left often accuses the right of “epistemic closure,” which accusation more often than not is a beautiful example of projection, but the future writing of Philip Longman is going to be a case study of what do public intellectuals do when their world view comes under assault from incontrovertible data that shatters their previously held positions.