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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Health Care Reform (2)

With respect to health care reform, the definition of success seems to have changed from real reform to the passage of a bill - any bill. The activity on Capitol Hill, as the Democratic leadership desperately tries to round up votes or devise a procedure that doesn't require voting, brings to mind a passage from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass published in 1871.

Here, Alice and the Red Queen are involved in a conversation that seems to sum up much of modern political activity and, in particular, the debate over the health care bills:

[Alice] “One can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

The American health care system is broken and badly needs to be fixed but the present proposals will not, regardless of the claims of their proponents, achieve the desired objective. What is being lost is the fact that expensive change is offered while reform - meaning action to increase coverage and quality while reducing cost - is what is needed.

Those who think that the monstrous proposals being considered will actually improve our health care system are little more than acolytes of the Red Queen: believers in impossible things. They are also calling, from the vasty deep, the spirits that guard the Law of Unintended Consequences.

"I can call spirits from the vasty deep."

"Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?"

William Shakespeare - Henry IV Part I

This time, there is no need for Hotspur's sceptical response. They will indeed come when called.

Better that the current bill[s] are rejected and a new start made. Further, if the drafters of a new bill were to adopt a strict limit on the number of pages, the world might be a slightly better better place

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