Sunday, August 2, 2009

12 Metaphors to Explain Obama's Health Reform Difficulties

1) It’s hard to soar with single-payer elite eagles when you’re dealing with blue dogs who insist on justifying and specifying costs and cuts required.

2) Physicians in small practices are elephants in the electronic health record room; they maintain EMRs aren’t up to prime time, have no return on investment, dispute patient-doctor relationships, and are tools for Big Brother watching you.

3) Private health plans are new Darth Vaders: according to President Obama, ““This is something very personal to me. My mother, when she contracted cancer, insurance companies suggested, this was a preexisting condition. That will never happen again.”

4) Medicare is the Sheriff of the health system and single-payer in drag, says Joseph Antos, of the American Enterprise Institute, ”If Medicare, the biggest actor in the system, says something, it’s unwise to buck the big boy, especially if you’re a private health plan.”

5) Cutting Medicare is like riding a tiger: you can’t dismount because liberals are always hungry for more and so is the tiger: a Public Option -for-All is the only way to fill their stomachs.

6) Medicare is nothing but a ravenous 800 pound gorilla, each year it gobbles up more of the federal budget, by 2030 it will cover 79 million and consume 50% of government spending.

7) Don’t confuse the Medicare Rhinoceros with RHINOs; the Rhinoceros is lumbering, huge, and predictable, the RHINOs (Republicans in Name Only) are fast, fickle, and unpredictable.

8) Special interests are venomous serpents, sucking money and life out of patients to feed profits: notes President Obama, “Those special interests who seek to block any reform at any costs will not prevail this time around.”

9) Baby boomers are like a 78 million person mass bolus moving through the Medicare python, obstructing it and pushing the elderly out of the way and everybody else who stands in its way.

10) Medicare is the Mother of all Entitlement Programs, eclipsing even Social Security in the magnitude of its unfunded benefits: Medicare trustees estimate Medicare’s unfunded obligation at more than $36 trillion, a bigger IOU than even owed by Social Security.

11) Health Reform is a duck. In reformists’ eyes, the health system should glide smoothly and efficiently on the water’s surface with everybody covered, everyone with affordable care, but underneath taxpayers, patients, doctors, and suppliers are churning furiously to keep the duck and their bottom lines afloat.

12) A Republican lawmaker is muddying the waters of the Obama plan by saying it should be a law that what’s good for the goose, a public option, should be good for the gander, everybody in Congress, with the same benefits, the same restrictions, and the same limitations of freedom of choice.

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