Saturday, August 22, 2009
“Yes.” I mean, “Of course.” It’s obvious that there would be significantly greater efficiency were the government to mandate that medical insurance forms and the terms they use to document illness and facilitate payment be standardized. Likewise for medical records. If ever there was a “no brainer” in the march toward healthcare reform, this is it.
And yet, it remains undone. Why? Because it’s exactly like my friend and her kitchen. She won’t replace her refrigerator, even though it’s safer keeping perishables over one of her air conditioning vents, because she’s waiting until she can redo her entire kitchen all at once. One of the burners on her stove died months ago. Rather than replace it, the burner that is, she’s limping by with the remaining three until she can remodel the whole room. Oh, the floors in her condo, except for the bathroom, are hardwood, so she can’t refinish the kitchen without doing the floors in the whole place. You get the point. It’s all or nothing – and she can’t do it all, so it’s nothing.
Unfortunately, while that approach may be tolerable in my friend’s condo, when it comes to healthcare reform, failure to act, even on bits and pieces of the problem, is inexcusably expensive and, in fact, actually hurtful to the well being of our people. So what are the President and Congress waiting for? They’re waiting because they’ve got their heads so far up their tushes, blinded as they are by the glory of comprehensive, all encompassing healthcare reform legislation, that they’ve lost track of why we need this legislation in the first place. (If I have to spell it out for you, then you’re part of the problem.)
Breaking down the process of healthcare reform legislation into separate laws related to specific issues is the better way to do this. Problems, the solutions for which are easier to resolve, will get done, even while the President and Congress continue their debate on more esoteric, more politically charged legislation. In the meantime, we’ll be making progress. They’ll be less of the “You give me this, I’ll give you that” process that makes it so hard to form a majority consensus in both houses in support of complex legislation.
President Obama should take the leadership, should show the maturity and common sense intelligence to stop the current mess, and encourage individual issue legislation, “bits and pieces,” one problem at a time. But he’s not going to do that, because he doesn’t get it, because he’s forever campaigning and winning for him is more important that the fundamentals of what the legislation is intended to accomplish. The Democrats in Congress are, for the most part, useless. That leaves the Republicans to whom I offer two trite, but nonetheless applicable words of advice: Carpe diem, preferably in time to make it count for the 2010 elections.
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