Healthcare Reform Won’t Be That Easy Mr. Obama

Election campaigns typically feature pontificating politicians flashing silver bullets to painlessly slay the nation’s problems.

Just move some money from here to there, cut some government waste no one apparently ever noticed, and then fund an unattainable promise with an outlandish price tag.

Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms fit this model nicely. He bundles three evergreen feel-good concepts — electronic medical records (EMR), disease prevention and chronic-disease management — and totes up dubious savings to fund his ultimate goal of making health insurance affordable to everyone. (Article in Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

It sounds like Barack’s advisors read George Halvorson’s book on the healthcare system.  Maybe they skipped the sections on the difficulty of aligning incentives and driving change.  If he thinks he can make major changes in 4 years, good luck to him.  Maybe that is a sign of his inexperience.  I think we all want change, but we definitely need a person who understands how to make change happen given the fixed constraints that we have.

He reminds me of the new consultant who comes in fresh out of business school and sees all the changes the company should make.  They are so obvious.  But, without all the history and the ability to manipulate the political landscape and knowledge of what it takes to get things done, it just becomes the flavor of the month that no one takes seriously while they wait for the consultant to move on to their next project.

Great ideas (not that this is one) don’t by themselves guarantee success.  A good idea implemented well is a lot better than a great idea implemented poorly.

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