Richard Baehr, noted health-care consultant and writer, and editor of, gave a passionate and thoughtful presentation on the costs and risks associated with the current health-care reform proposals. Mr. Baehr, who frequently serves as an expert witness in health-care litigation cases, spoke for nearly 40 minutes to the 60 member audience at the Evanston Public Library.

“Does health care need reform? It does. But is there a need to pass a health-care reform bill by the end of 2009?” Mr. Baehr challenged the notion that the American public is demanding health-care reform, pointing out that fewer Americans now support a reform bill than did before President Obama’s Sept. 9 speech.

Mr. Baeher expressed concern about the increase in demand that results when the costs are hidden from the users, and from adding 45 million people to an overburdened system.

“Is there an access issue? Yes.” But according to Mr. Baehr, the House bill and the Baucus bill address the access issue but not the cost issue.

“The biggest anxiety people have with private insurance is that they’ll lose it if they have it, or they won’t be able to get it if they don’t,” says Mr. Baehr. “I don’t discount for one second that this is a real issue. But how do we make insurance companies behave differently?” Mr. Baehr suggests allowing insurance companies to sell across state lines, and allowing health consumers to choose their level of coverage rather than being locked into comprehensive coverage they do not need or want.

Mr. Baehr’s talk was sponsored by the Evanston Republican Club, in cooperation with the Evanston Public Library. The fall issues series will continue Oct. 22 with Professor Steven Presser of Northwestern University discussing the Supreme Court in transition, and on Nov. 18 with a forum on school choice, with representatives from Evanston‘s public, private, parochial and home schools.