Politics, Healthcare, and The Economy – My Hints For Obama & Romney

Whether you’re a political junkie or not, if you’re in the healthcare industry, the political landscape has become increasingly important over the past decade.

And, with the government being the primary payer, they have the ability to drive trickle down changes through everyone’s care. So, even if you don’t work in the industry, but you’re a patient, you should care. What happens in DC will change healthcare which will affect you either today or in the future.

At the same time, I think most people in Washington DC are living in Disneyland. Government salaries continue to go up. Employment continues to go up. They have pension plans. They have robust health insurance offerings. Real estate has stayed strong. They don’t really understand what the rest of country is experiencing.

So, if I were coaching either campaign, I would point out that it’s always about finding simple messages that convey very strong points. That’s not easy, but I think we all want some basic things:

  1. A financially stable country in which we have a legitimate chance to be economically successful.
  2. An infrastructure which provides education for our kids and the overall workforce.
  3. A safe neighborhood and country in which to live and where our rights as outlined in the Declaration of Independence are protected.
  4. Leaders who use our tax money as if it was their own money when making decisions.
  5. A country where hard work is rewarded and there’s a safety net to protect us when we get sick.

So, I guess you could ask what that has to do with healthcare…

BUT, I do think there is macro-economic element here some of which is done differently in other countries (if you believe there is something to learn from them).

Of course, all my practical business friends would tell me that this would kill our global competitiveness. And, my skeptical friends would point out that this would create more time, but we wouldn’t use that time to improve our health. Others of you would point out that companies would just look for more productive workers not hire more people.

But, I would argue that if we plan to differentiate ourselves on innovation and creativity then health is very important. Health already represents more of the cost of a car then the steel and more of the cost of coffee than the beans. The WHO has now said that obesity is the number one healthcare issue to tackle globally. It impact presenteeism. It impact absenteeism. And, your creativity is limited when you don’t sleep due to stress or other healthcare issues which is often magnified in the sandwich generation.

All of these things impact us in many ways. Of course, I think this would make a great campaign discussion…

“I’ll decrease unemployment and improve our economy by increasing use of vacation time, limiting work hours, and creating tax incentives to drive down obesity and improve our overall satisfaction with life. Doing this will make us a more innovative country and drive sustained competitive advantage within a global marketplace.”

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