Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Contradictory Health Reform Talks

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind, and still retain the ability to perform.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), The Crack-up (1936)

I’ve been asked to give 2 talks in the next 3 weeks – one to a group of hospital chaplains, the other to a group of independent doctors.

The first group, I suspect, leans towards government-regulated universal coverage.  The second group, I know, opposes government regulation as a threat to patient and physician autonomies.

My challenge is to be consistent and true to my beliefs without being contradictory.  No doubt both groups believe in a social safety net for the poor, uninsured, and otherwise disenfranchised, but they differ on how to get from here to there.  This is particularly difficult in a stagnant economy,  when there is no there there for the poor and a shrinking middle class.

One group may see reform as primarily a moral issue.  They believe the path to morality goes through government regulation.  The other group believes the path goes through free enterprise with ensuing prosperity. 

For both groups, I will probably quote Sir Winston Churchill’s aphorism:  "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” This would resonate for both groups, for both sides are miserable about the prospects for reform.

No matter how you cook ObamaCare statistics to prove the ACA  works or doesn’t work,  there are no easy solutions, no path to glory, to clarity, no way to prove whose goose is being cooked.

You cannot resolve the two group’s differences.  By you can always say, there is gloom for improvement.  You can always quote another Churchill truism,”You can always count on the Americans.  In the end, they will do the right thing, after they have tried everything else." And you can always say that, at 238 years of age, we are the world’s longest surviving Democracy, where the majority rules,  where we resist authoritative mandates,  where we have checks and balances, and where are a free people who  believe in equal opportunity for all.”

In future blogs,   I will share with you the essence of my remarks before these two group.

Tweet:   ObamaCare evokes 2 sets of beliefs: 1) the path to the social safety net goes through government; 2) the path goes through market-based prosperity.   

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