Thursday, March 25, 2010

The definition of Insanity:

Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".  My carpool driver listens to NPR, and so I've been hearing a LOT of listening to the latest shenanigans of both parties over the recently passed Health Care Reform Act.

Before I even start, I want to make a couple of things clear:
  1. I'm uninformed and I know it.  So are you (more than likely, anyway).  I haven't even seen this bill, and have only heard it reviewed by a handful of sources.  Even if I had seen it, it's 2300+ pages of post-graduate legalese reading, so I would STILL be uninformed.  I can only form an opinion based on sources I trust.
  2. I'm biased in that my son, up until this bill passing, was about to become uninsurable, with a debilitating pre-existing condition that was going to financially ruin him at the age of 18.
All that being said, I have to say I'm dissappointed in how our congress is acting.  All sides are behaving badly.  You only have to look at how the votes lined up to see that they're voting predominantly along party lines.  I don't think any of them are fully informed and unbiased, either.

So, I wish they'd think of a few things before arguing over this further, dragging their good names and the good name of our country through the muck and mire further:
  1. We can all agree that healthcare as it stands is BROKEN.  It came up on both sides during the debates.  So why keep it?  Sure, we can't agree on how to "fix" it, but that doesn't mean you should stagnate!  If you take a serious illness to three different doctors and get three different opinions, "nothing" is almost certainly NOT the right thing to do.  Sooner or later, you're going to have to pick a treatment and see how it works for you.  You may pick wrong.  You may have to revisit that decision down the line.  Why is this any different?  The new ideas are surely going to be imperfect, lopsided and broken ... but we haven't been able to get what we have to work, so why fight so hard for what we can all agree is broken? 
  2. Sometimes change for change's sake is good.  Sometimes, when my kids aren't getting along, the easiest way to fix it is to change something.  If they're constantly fighting over seats in the van, move the carseats and insert some chaos.  If they're fighting over what cereal to eat in the morning, buy some new kinds and stop buying the old.  If my code is not doing what it should, make a change that should do something minor, or even nothing, and see what effect it has.  Sometimes making a change for the sake of change can highlight not only what was wrong in the old system, but what was right.  Then you can re-evaluate and make a more informed decision on where to go next.
I don't think this 2300+ page mega-reform act is perfect.  There are parts of it that make me happy, and there are parts of it that make me incredibly scared.  But instead of clinging to an old, admittedly broken, system and trying to fight the change ... let's give it a chance.  Let's look at how the new ideas filter down, and see if they provide some insight as to what WAS working, what IS working, and, hopefully, what might work in the future.

That way, the next 2300+ page reform has that much better chance of getting it closer to right.  And the one after that.  And the one after that.

TL;DNR version: How does holding on tightly to the status-quo while admitting the status-quo is broken not fit Einstein's definition of insane? I truly don't understand.

I'm pretty sure I can survive this "Healthcare Reform" ... if only I can survive so-called congressional debates ...

        aka: goofdad


Eric said...

I started on this whole big schpeel about insurance. I work for an insurance company, but I went off point.

The pre-ex thing is the best thing coming out of it I believe.

I handle a lot of medicare patients and I've seen the discounts and write offs that the providers need to take from the government. Patients are getting more and more upset with these doctors because the better doctors don't want to be on medicare because they're not getting paid as much anymore.

This would be along the same lines. So finding a government network provider will be either hard or easy, but the easy ones aren't the better ones.

Douglas said...

I have shown this blog to a few colleagues here, and they all agree that this one is worth sending in to the "letters to the editor". It is well written and bang on!

Ray Colon said...

Hi Doug,

Very good post. Although I believe that the two parties should work in a more conciliatory manner, expecting any Congressperson, or anyone for that matter, to be unbiased is probably too much to ask. But I get your meaning.

1. The question of why there is so much opposition to changing a universally recognized broken system is a good one. It's long been my contention that many who argue against reform are doing so against their own self-interest. This is where the demagoguery that has gone on has been most harmful. People don't think straight when they are scared.

2. Since it is unlikely that any fix will be a cure-all, change or experimentation with different proposals can be good. We can always change what doesn't work and reallocated those resources to what does work. Generally, people do not adapt to change easily. I understand that, but if the price to pay for a better system in the long-term is to make people uncomfortable in the short-term, it's a price worth paying.

The law has now been enacted, so we are going to begin to see some things change. The Left will point to successes and the Right will highlight the law's failings as the debate rages on for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, regular folks will try to figure out what it means to them. Once we've had a chance to digest what has happened, I think that many of us will be pleased. Ray