Thursday, November 19, 2009

Healthcare Reform


America is dying of healthcare costs.

We spend twice as much on healthcare per person as other developed countries. Despite the higher costs, we ranked dead last in a study of quality adjusted life expectancy. Widespread concerns about the costs and effectiveness of healthcare have been a national focus for over thirty years and our inability to address these trends is well documented.

Both the healthcare reform movement and the free enterprise proponents have their vocal advocates. However, each also has a long track record of being inadequate to overcome the lobbies that benefit from the status quo.

Since the problem is not improving, many blame our leaders in traditional fashion - the Democrats are the problem if one is a Republican, and vice versa. This is politics as usual and may get someone elected, but will not solve the problem.

However, in this instance, our leaders are not the cause of the problem - we are. American’s fundamental attitudes concerning health underlie both the costs and the reasons we cannot reach effective reform.

In War and Peace, Tolstoy posits that the major shifts in world history are not initiated by great leaders, but by a tectonic shift in the attitude of the masses. He points out that great leaders seem to lead, but in reality just skillfully execute the changing direction arising from the mega-shift in perspective.   

Tolstoy’s assessment doesn’t fully explore the nuances of leadership, but it does point out a key limitation of leadership. Leaders can lead only so far ahead of the curve or they will be replaced - no matter how eloquent they may be.

The result of the current healthcare reform battle is irrelevant; the status quo will be served. Real reform - significantly better health for significantly less cost - requires a sea change in the way we approach our health. True patriotism is not just waving the flag faster. In healthcare reform, patriotism requires a fundamental reassessment of our thinking.

To be continued…

Expressly yours,

carl myers

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