President Obama has called for a half-day, bipartisan healthcare summit at the Blair House on February 25th, “I want to…have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.” But the President refuses to start from scratch, and Republicans fear that a half-day event focusing on thousands of pages from a rejected healthcare plan is nothing more than a political trap. Is it time to move beyond complex, expensive healthcare fixes and “recall” America’s healthcare system to make the systemic changes that are necessary?
Toyota has finally faced the need for an agonizing series of recalls and production shutdowns to make the system and assembly changes that are providing real solutions. But as PR expert Albert Tortorella observed, "Before 1982, nobody ever recalled anything. Companies often fiddle while Rome burns." What really makes mistakes expensive is not admitting them right away. Leaders have a tendency to never admit to mistakes but to bury them instead or to blame someone else. They often don’t act until 60 Minutes or lawsuits provide the motivation. Politicians tend to do the same thing, but it’s time to face the need for systemic changes that should have been done years ago.
Obviously, there are no easy fixes. Ultimately, politicians will need to address realistic tort reform, uniform digital records, sane regulatory controls, and coverage for the truly poor. But first, it’s time for government and corporations to get out of the middle. It’s time to put every citizen back in control of their own portable healthcare plan.
Too many Americans are stuck in jobs they hate because they can’t afford to be stuck with expensive COBRA policies they can’t afford. Once coverage is lost, they face underwriting exclusions for the very things they need coverage for. The cost of healthcare coverage for companies and organizations continues to grow at a double-digit rate at a time where everyone is trying to cut costs. Citizens and organizations are both living an exploding healthcare nightmare.