Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Looking at Health Reform Anew

Our obligation is about generating new ways to reconceptulize the world and new ways to participate in it, new ways to imagine, to shape, and make it.

Mariko Silver, “Show the World Anew,” President of Bennington College, 2014 inaugural address to alumni, students, faculty, and friends of Bennington College

I am not an alumnus of Bennington College. But one son, Carter, went there. The other son, Spencer, presented his poems there.
And it was at Bennington that my society mentor, Peter Drucker (1909-2005), taught and learned what he needed to know to develop the theories that inspired and informed modern management.

There Drucker learned about makes America tick – its history, government, philosophy, and religion. Drucker believed in limited government but also in business management that created and led institutions with larger social purposes.

I am writing this because I am engaged in writing an ObamaCare triology spanning the period from ACA passage, March 23, 2010 to November 4, 2014. I believe the midterms will determine the fate and shape of health reform.

What am I learning from this writing engagement, this process, of writing about ObamaCare?

Much of what I am learning was expressed eloquently in Mariko Silver’s inaugural address as President of Bennington College.

One, “Life has never been lockstep or linear.” Neither has the process of implementing ObamaCare. ObamaCare is a new way of reconceptualizing health reform, a sometimes bizarre combination of government and the private sector, as a means of reshaping and remaking health care delivery.

Two, “Humans are ever seeking to capture the complexity of the world and to bind it into little boxes.” I have tried to capture the essence of ObamaCare by binding them into 600 little boxes called blogs and then to rebox them into bigger boxes called categories and then into even bigger boxes called books.

Three, “But if we want change, if we want progress, if we want fundamental shifts and improvements in the human experience – and the state of the planet as well – then we need to require our institutions to advance and even to break course and take on new, as yet never realized or even yet imagined, directions – new boxes, or maybe no boxes.” ObamaCare does not fall neatly into little boxes, like blogs, or even into big boxes – like liberalism or conservatism, or single-payer, government- driven care. or competition, and market-driven care.

Instead ObamaCare advocates and distractors and the alternatively-minded opponents should seek “liberate and nurture the individuality, the creative intelligence, and the ethical and aesthetic sensibility” of students and perpetrators of health reform for “constructive social purposes” , rather than for raw political power.

The quest for the right health reform is an ongoing, perpetual , creative – and chaotic – process. It has no definite endpoint. There will always be room and gloom for improvement.

But we as a resilient nation can do it because of our endowment of individual, natural, and freedom-loving resources. We can do it by defying conventional wisdom that there is just one right way of doing things. Let us do it the American way by embracing complexity and diversity and by thinking of our creative restlessness as an asset, rather as an exercise in political partisanship.

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