Healthcare Reform or Debacle?
Mar 28 2010

Last week I was out of town for a much needed break and as pretty much everyone knows much of the week was all about US health care reform or as people have been calling it Obamacare.   I ended up seeing more of the health care bill passing/signing spectacle than I normally would because I was with family members who like to keep up with every detail when it comes to things like this.  I usually don’t have time or the interest in understanding more than a broad brush of what is happening.  I know I probably shouldn’t admit that but daily life gets in the way and I’m one of the fortunate people that happens to have good health insurance right now.  In this case, I’m actually a bit disheartened in how things were handled and are being handled.  Long time readers of my blog know that I supported Obama in the election and am still amazed at what he’s been able to accomplish.  He is a very intelligent, charismatic man.

Yes, I’m glad that small business owners will get a tax credit for offering health insurance.  Yes, I’m glad that people who could not afford and did not have insurance in the past will now have an option.  Yes, I’m glad they will share some of the financial burden that all of us taxpayers have covered to date.  Yes, I’m glad that children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health care coverage.  At one point when we didn’t have access to employer based coverage except via COBRA (which was way too expensive), I shopped around for coverage.  Because of a minor observation that a doctor had made during a doctor visit for my then 18 month old son, one insurance company denied him coverage.  I had to find another company to cover him.  It was ridiculous!

What I’m not happy about is how this bill came to pass.  I have several very good Republican friends and if I was in their shoes I would feel very upset with how the bill got passed.  My friends aren’t the type that yell things at congress people.  They aren’t the crazies who try to physically hurt people.  They are smart, caring people.  And if they don’t buy in, get, approve, or understand the bill then I think this was a hollow victory.

In my opinion when you are trying to implement a change of this nature that has huge financial AND emotional implications, it’s the leader’s job to get buy in and understanding from all sides.  When one side is completely opposed, you’ve set yourself up for a long uphill battle, wasted energy, wasted money, and bi-partisan messes.  As unpopular as the war is now, at the time it had bi-partisan support.  As broken as I think the welfare, affirmative action, social security, and medicare programs are now, they (as far as I know, and I readily admit I could be wrong) had support (even if minimal) from both sides.

One thing I think most bills are missing that pass Congress is an “out clause.”  How do we get out of something that isn’t working anymore?  How do we get out of the war?  Some of the billions of dollars being spent on the war could be (in my opinion) better used on the home front including health care reform.  How do we get out of, change, or just drop programs like the ones I mentioned above that are no longer working as designed because people have learned to game the system?  I think all of the programs (just like this health care reform will initially provide) provided great value at the time they were implemented and helped hundreds of thousands of people, but now they aren’t working as designed and there is no easy out clause.

I believe in people.  I believe in the men and women who are the one’s that get things done on a daily basis in this country.  It doesn’t matter if they are Democrats or Republicans.  In the case of health care reform, I think from a “change management” perspective we have set ourselves up for a very challenging road.  There is a huge process in managing change and this is a big one.  Many changes implemented in corporations fail, many mergers & acquisitions fail precisely because everyone underestimates the amount of change that really needs to happen to make something work. People are all different and we fundamentally don’t like change.  The insurance companies, the patients, the doctors, the hospitals, etc. will all have to change.  We want to feel like we’ve bought in and understand the change before changing our behaviors.  If we don’t feel we’ve been given that respect, we will dig in our heels and resist.

Overall, I’m glad the bill passed because it has now taken the discussion on health care to a different level. After all the lawyers get in & out, I am hopeful that everyone will plainly see how it will help millions of Americans as well as understand how we will pay for it.  I don’t fully understand how we will pay for it just as I don’t fully understand how we continue to pay for an unpopular war.  However, I think Obama and the Democrat members of Congress should have had the foresight to realize that the energy drain and distraction that the nation is now facing will take its toll…especially now when we should be allocating some of that energy on educating our kids and creating jobs to maintain our leadership position in the world.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

4 Comments on “Healthcare Reform or Debacle?”

  1. 1 uberVU - social comments said at 11:01 PM on March 28th, 2010:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by aruni: New Post: Healthcare Reform or Debacle?: Last week I was out of town for a much needed break and as pretty much ev…

  2. 2 Tweets that mention entrepreMusings » Healthcare Reform or Debacle? -- said at 11:25 PM on March 28th, 2010:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aruni (entrepreMuse), Flexible Working, Legitimate Work, Outsourcing Services, Kenny Brew and others. Kenny Brew said: Healthcare Reform or Debacle? […]

  3. 3 Samit said at 7:57 AM on March 30th, 2010:

    Even though I voted for Obama, I was extremely skeptical about what he’ll be able to accomplish – primarily because of his lack of experience and the lack of respect he would get from seasoned politicians. I think that what a number of folks in Obama administration (and many other democrats) achieved last week is historic and they have my respect and admiration.

    There were probably some Republicans who were politically against this bill just because it was Democrat sponsored. However, I believe (or, at least I would hope) that the primary reason Conservatives / Republicans were against this is that the proposed bill was philosophically different from anything they believed in. I would wager that most of them wouldn’t have agreed to pass Social Security or Medicare if that came up for vote in Congress today.

    So, if you were Obama (and other leaders Pelosi, Reed,, etc) who strongly believed in this specific “health care reform” (I prefer to call it – An initial fight and victory for the Right to health care for everyone), then is it really worth your while to continue to debate / negotiate / “get buy-in” for the change. I said “continue” in the last sentence, because I believe that the Democrats have been trying to do that for the past year with no success. In fact, instead of gaining support for what they believed fundamentally had to change in the country, they started to lose the support of some folks because of the nasty / bitter politics that was sending out mixed and confusing messages to the public.

    Fortunately Obama, Pelosi and other leaders came up with a plan to try to push this through once again. Here’s a great article that describes how the democrats maneuvered this successfully through the Congress – some of the details give you an insight into some amazing politics played by the democrats.

    I firmly believe that a leader should always attempt to get buy-in. However, leaders with a vision that may not be popular must be willing to use all the “legal” / “ethical” tools available to them to do what they believe is right. In this case, I believe there was no way for Obama to have gotten buy-in from the Conservatives / Republicans in the Congress.

  4. 4 Aruni said at 8:47 AM on April 3rd, 2010:

    Samit – Great comment. They were indeed politcally savvy and I hope we can implement the good stuff fast to show success early.