Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Healthcare: The Status Quo Has Got To Go!

'To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.' - Winston Churchill

'The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.'
- John F. Kennedy

'Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.'
- Winston Churchill


A few years ago, a local right-wing politico couldn't resist shouting out 'John Watts has got to go!'
That outburst actually embarrassed some of this politico's cohorts to the extent they came up to me after the meeting and apologized.

But, you know that politico was right.
I did need to go, just like everyone does at some time.
The thing is, I get to pick the time and place, which in due course, I did.
In retrospect, I might have stayed too long, but past mistakes and decisions can't always be easily corrected.

There is one rather large mistake that has persisted over a half century which can be corrected, but only if Congress has the courage to do it.
Of course, there is again, a large chorus of politicos who are using every means at their disposal to frustrate any kind of meaningful change in our healthcare system.
And this is despite the crying need for breaking the grip of our 'status quo'.

As predicted in an earlier blog, the cacophony of noise and misinformation is reaching a crescendo of meanness, to our great shame as a democratic society.
But, there are ways to deal with this kind of strategy and associated tactics.
It won't be easy, but worthwhile things never are.

The antidote is to keep listening, talking and thinking about more elegant and efficient ways to skin the healthcare cat.
Much of this has already been done, but more is probably needed before measures can be agreed to by both the House & Senate.
Just keep explaining, answering criticisms and pushing forward, without setting any artificial deadlines.
Practical deadlines are likely necessary, but a phased implementation over time makes sense.
If the opposition proves intractable -as it is acting- then something must be accomplished anyway, with or without their support.
And, regardless of attitudes, no entity EXCEPT the Federal Government can realistically take on this task.

It is interesting to see the contest between reasonable discourse and emotional distraction.
And, anger, fear, distrust and doubt can be effective weapons, but in the end their duplicity undermines their objective.

Advertisers understand that if a message is repeated often enough it will sell.
Repeat a slogan frequently and it is believed.
Repeated messages are inherent in advertising, religion, and politics.

But this reality cuts both ways, and I have confidence that principled progress will triumph over those who so ardently oppose it.

If you don't believe that, you may be part of the problem.
This country of ours has managed to slowly but surely change itself over its relatively brief history.
Just look at the egregious civil rights issues that have been improved, including slavery, universal suffrage and the like.
Not that changing our Constitution, laws or policies automatically solves a problem, but it can change our direction in ways that are difficult to reverse.

Something similar must happen in healthcare, and one hopes sooner rather later.
You can argue about the details, but not the need for change!
That is, if one truly values their own integrity, intelligence and compassion.

I hope our elected legislators get an earful before returning to their next Congressional session.
Then, I trust they will act to meaningfully improve our healthcare system.
If that doesn't happen, I will personally make this an issue that will not go away.
This is a promise, not a threat; it will be time for some elected officials to go!

'My experience in government is that when things are non-controversial and beautifully coordinated, there is not much going on.' - John F. Kennedy

'Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. '- Winston Churchill