Archive for August, 2009
[originally posted on Huffington Post]
The Patriarch of the Kennedy Dynasty has passed.¬†¬† Whither now health care reform?¬† Why is this important?
For the last 40 years Edward Kennedy was the voice of the under-represented.¬† His lifetime goal was a more perfect and accessible health care system in the United States.¬†¬† He worked tirelessly to achieve these goals.¬† We are told that he counseled Barack Obama in the early days, “I will support you openly under the condition that you make health care the centerpiece of your administration.”¬† Wise counsel.¬† But this may have been a strategically and untenable position.¬† Like the myth of Sisyphus, since the days of Franklin Roosevelt every president has aspired to a more perfect health care system.
We salute and wave farewell to a Great American.¬† His life’s goal was a more perfect¬† and inclusive Health Care system.¬† We agree … only not as presented.
Remember Monte Hall and Let’s Make a Deal?¬† Behind No. 1,¬† door No. 2 or door No. 3.¬†¬† Behind door No. 1¬† is the path to political nirvana — health Care reform.¬† Behind door No. 2 is political hell — socialized medicine.¬† And behind door No. 3 is — a mirror.¬†¬† Somewhat facetiously stated.¬† What is the mirror all about?¬†¬† It is — you and I.¬†¬† A collective look at ourselves and how we can decide make a better future. ¬† Remember, that was the Woodstock dream.¬†¬† A new nation.
We need to seriously contemplate our devolving state of health and well being.
Congress is in August recess.¬† Hot as a pistol in Washington, DC.
Where are we this week?¬† All the players have staked their positions.¬†¬† The president and the administration have not articulated a definitive plan.¬† They have offered a dreamy vision.¬† As we have noted, both strategically and rhetorically, this vision keeps evolving. Most recently, the focus has shifted to insurance reform.¬† An easier sell.¬†¬†¬† As one commentator said this Sunday, “nobody likes their insurance company.”
Who are the players?¬†¬† The President and the Administration, the Democratic Congress, the Republican Congress, health insurance companies, Big Pharma, labor unions and … the mobilized masses … the pitchfork crazies and the outspoken talk radio infotainers.
Harry and Louise have been resurrected.¬† This time they are promoting health care coverage.¬† Why do you think they have changed their minds? Remember, the large insurance carriers and Big Pharma will not lose.
It is difficult staying focused.
What is the Democratic message?¬† We know the Republican message.¬† What is the goal?
Representative Henry Waxman was featured on the on The daily Show with Jon Stewart last night.¬† He was asked a simple question — what is the plan?¬† What is the goal?¬† A series of litanies followed without a crisp,¬† definitive answer.
Initially it was about covering 40+ million Americans who are currently uninsured.¬† But the nagging question, how this will be funded, shifted the focus.¬† More discussion follows.¬† Cost cutting.¬† Cutting waste, fraud and abuse.¬† All the old litanies.
Watch the bouncing ball.¬† In an earlier post I cautioned my gentle readers to keep your eye on the ball.¬† A difficult task.
What is the goal?
The goal started with a political strategy and calculation based on a lofty ideal.¬† Cover everybody.¬† It is becoming clearer to more people that coverage alone does not guarantee access nor quality.¬†¬† Does universal coverage remain the goal?¬† Or universal access?¬† At what cost?
Now the debate shifts even more subtly¬† to insurance reform.¬† That is probably where the debate should have started.¬†¬† Remember, I cautioned in some previous posts that the insurance giants and Big Pharma will not lose.¬† They are the Titans that no one wanted to challenge.