Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Dream and The Two Minute Speech
January 17, 2013-  I had a dream last night.   I was at the White House in the last two minutes of a national health reform conference hosted by President Obama.  As the conference was about to end,  the President turned to me and said, “ Now we would like to hear from Dr. Richard  Reece, who is writing 12 books on my health reform.”
I was terrified.   I was there as a spectator, not a participant.  I had not prepared any remarks. I was no fan of Obamacare.   I had 2 minutes to tell my story.
As I rose unsteadily to my feet,  four historical figures sprang to mind -  Winston Churchill, who delivered his speeches at 160 words a minute;  President  Abraham Lincoln, whose Gettysburg Address was 270 words long;  Rudyard Kipling, who laid down the basis for speech-giving and  story telling in a poem; and Alfred Kinsey, the American sexologist, who responded to an introducer saying Kinsey  would talk about his favorite subject  by saying , “It’s a pleasure,” and sat down.
Here was my 262 word dream speech:
“Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. President. 
I shall use Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem as the basis for my remarks.
I keep six honest serving men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who. 
The What is the Affordable Care Act, which passed on March 23, 2010, without a single Republican vote.
The Why is that it will affect every American, each in a different way, at a different time, at a different cost, as outlined in the 2700 page Affordable Care Act, a mixture of mandates, rules, regulations, agencies, and commissions spread out over 10 years. 
The When is from 2010 to 2013, but after that,  gathering steam and  traction in 2013,  peaking in 2014,  costing $2.5 trillion through 2024, and impacting future generations, who must pay the Federal Piper. 
The How is how the Affordable Care Act will be implemented in the States, who are already burdened with budget breaking Medicaid costs, and with 30  Republican governors and legislatures.
The Where is everywhere, among academic institutions, hospital systems,  physician practices,  other health professionals,  health plans, American employers, the insured and uninsured, and those who can afford it and those who can’t. 
The Who in my series of 12 books are practicing physicians and others who make up the present health system, and who must bear the bureaucratic costs and federal mandates which will complicate their and their patients’ lives. 
It’s been a pleasure, Mr. President, for you to allow me to express these opinions.”
I sat down to  silence.

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