Posted By Ben Miller,
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, June 1, 2011
| Comments (3)
A.K.A.: "Don't Write Blog Posts Too Late At Night or This is What You Get"
Now that I have your attention, let me really get
down to what I want to talk about: What potty training has taught me
about health reform. You see, I have a 19 month old who is experiencing
the rite that we mostly all have passed (hopefully), potty training. It
occurred to me that there are many principles for health reform that
also apply to potty training (and vice versa). So, without being too
crude let me get started:
- Sometimes it is about patience:
Patience is usually a great skill to have when entering into any type
of new (and often significant) change. There are those who have
committed serious amounts of time (read their life’s work) to seeing
change in healthcare. While I cannot say that I have spent the majority
of my life working on potty training, relative to how long my daughter
has been alive, I would argue that it has been a significant amount of
her life. Yet, we wait. There have been various aspects of healthcare
that lead me to believe that yes, we are close to something big;
however, just like potty training, when you think you have it, something
inevitably happens that changes your opinion about the directions you
are going. Take away: Deep breath, start again…
- Those most invested in success may not be who you think:
This one is pretty obvious to me, but think about it from a child’s
perspective: Why change when I have everything I need already in place? A
diaper – check! A parent to change – check! There are those in the
current healthcare system who are just this way. A public dependent on
health coverage – check! Lots of sick people – check! Why change this?
Well let’s begin with the fact that healthcare is a booming business.
Even in our current economical situation, healthcare continues to prevail financially. Because many experts agree that payment reform
is central to a redesigned and successful system, some may not want
their bottom line affected. In addition, there are provider groups
within healthcare that are afraid they will lose out because their
specialized form of payment could be consolidated within a larger
healthcare budget. These are all very real conversations that are
happening now! Take away: Examining others motives in success (or failure) is not a bad thing to do.
- If at first you don’t succeed…
Some failure with potty training is inevitable. I mean, come on, this
is the first time the little one has had to demonstrate self-control
(and in a major way). There will be small success and some setbacks, but
all in all, it will be worth it if you can just stick it out.
Healthcare? Well let’s just say that we have been trying to succeed at
building a high-quality, cost conscious, efficient system for some time,
but aren’t quite there. As a matter of fact, we have regressed in many
ways. We pay more and get less for our healthcare than we have in the past, and there is little question that if we don’t change now, no one will be able to afford healthcare anyway! Take away: practice makes perfect (or at least better).
- Be prepared for false alarms: Baucus bill emerges; no one likes it.
Having your child say the word "potty” meaning they are in the act of
(verb) rather than describing the item they wish to use (noun). Take
away: One can never really know if this is really "it” but we have to keep working like it is.
- Convenience vs. Inconvenience:
Imagine this, you have the Cadillac plan for insurance – you are
covered from head to toe, and pay relatively little for what you
receive. Someone comes up to you and says, "Hey, we should change health
insurance.” Your first response is not likely to be "OK that sounds
great!” In the same vein, you are at home, and "potty” is mentioned –
look how easy it is to access this wonderful and convenient service that
doesn’t require you to do too much to accommodate. Now, same scenario –
"potty” but you are now out on the road with no potty. Your first
response is not likely to be "OK that sounds great!” Take away: Sometimes complex change requires us all to be a little inconvenienced for the sake of the greater good.
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