Intelligence Squared U.S.

Sat, 10/04/2008 - 3:00pm

Moderator John Donvan.


Recently in the U.S. it seems as if partisan rancor has replaced reasoned debate; mainstream media has become contentious and ideological; and discussions of important issues are being dominated by emotion rather than by facts and analysis. The debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) attempts to change this trend and raise the level of public discourse on the key issues of our day. Intelligence Squared U.S.: Universal Health Coverage Should Be the Federal Government's Responsibility airs Saturday, October 4 at 3 p.m. on AM 1370 and WXXI-FM HD 91.5-2.

The U.S. healthcare system is unsustainable, and with the upcoming presidential election, healthcare reform is one of the nation's top domestic concerns.

In the opening debate of the Intelligence US Fall '08 series, debaters on both sides seek to increase coverage and lower spiraling costs, but through vastly different methods:

  • more government control through mandates, regulation, and eventually, a single-payer system; or
  • reliance on free markets and individual choice.

In the debate, Universal Health Coverage Should Be the Federal Government's Responsibility, arguing for the motion are Art Kellermann, Paul Krugman, and Michael Rachlis. Arguing against the motion are Michael F. Cannon, Sally C. Pipes, and John Stossel. The Moderator for the evening is John Donvan, a correspondent for ABC News Nightline.

Modeled on the British program Intelligence Squared, IQ2US is an Oxford-style debate that is provocative, intellectually rich, humorous, and dramatic. For each debate a motion is proposed. Then, three panelists argue for the motion and three argue against it, with a moderator controlling the proceedings. After the formal arguments, the debate is thrown open to the floor for questions, triggering a lively interchange among the speakers and audience members. Each side attempts to persuade the audience to vote their way. This adversarial context is electric, adding drama and excitement to the proceedings. The live audience will vote on the motion both before and after hearing the arguments, so there is a clear measure of how far people have actually been swayed. Those votes are tallied during the evening and announced at the end with a clear side winning.