Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Latest Healthcare Reform Failure
Is it just me, or does anyone else believe that a bill requiring congressional tricks and tactics to get it passed is doomed from the start?
I hate to go off on a rant here, but this bus is missing a few wheels!
Project Ownership Incomplete
Most managers of personnel recognize that their best shot at completing a project or reaching team goals is getting collective buy-in from the team. People need to feel that they helped craft the vision and direction, and therefore consider it personal to see it through to completion. The team needs to feel some ownership of the plan.
But when a project begins with highly fragmented support, all of the many and guaranteed obstacles that arise throughout the project's journey become larger than they really are. People look for reasons to kill the project instead of looking for solutions for success.
With congress almost completely divided on the reform bill now at hand, this project simply doesn't have the necessary ownership needed to succeed. Completing the sweeping changes needed to fix the ailing system is going to take a lot of creativity, a lot of effort, and a lot of faith. Just half of us working towards that goal isn't enough to get us there. Though perhaps it's enough to get us to a place where we can make further progress.
Sugar Tax Funding Missing
Another puzzle piece missing from the bill (as I last saw it), are Sugar Taxes. Indeed, it was about this time last year when the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated the strongest correlation yet between artificial sugars and obesity. With legislation so closely tied to nutrition, not using this seemingly obvious funding resource (sugar tax) is unforgivable.
Fat Tax Funding Missing
And then there's the fat tax. As individuals we absolutely have the right to choose to eat whatever the hell we want ... deep fried foods, bacon, ice cream, and Twinkies included!
But consuming those things does hurt your health.
And if we, as taxpayers and employers are shouldering the burden of funding an increasingly socialistic health care system, then we, the taxpayers should be getting a little extra help funding the solution from those who continue to choose to make poor nutritional choices.
It only makes sense, that if we can tax alcohol, cigarettes, and (yes, according to the most recent bill), tanning studios, we can and should include taxing highly saturated and/or trans fat foods. They're every bit as detrimental to health, perhaps even more so for some.
Fitness Incentives Missing
Above all else, the plan fails to create any incentives for fitness.
Indeed, the most significant Obama initiative around fitness is Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative for kids. I like the idea, but feel strongly that it's largely the tail wagging the dog. Kids tend to be more active when their parents are, not the other way around. Getting kids moving is a good idea, but it's up to their parents and business leaders to provide leadership, example, funding, and structure. More important than all, it's also up to their parents to buy and prepare healthy foods. So while the idea sounds good, and is, it's only a piece of the puzzle.
Lastly, and I really didn't think it would make this generation of 'reform,' but the attendance based model of encouraging adults to exercise doesn't work. You know what I mean: your employer says she'll give you 20 bucks a month if you simply show up at your club 8 times per month. While I'll be the 1st to agree that simply showing up is almost always the hardest part of completing your exercise program, what tends to happen is that the people who would normally exercise simply do it for cheap. For those who are entirely new to exercise, or perhaps in the obese category, the 20 bucks isn't enough to make it work. At some point, and perhaps it will be a day after I've signed off for good, there will be ...
... an incentive based program to reduce premiums for people who are demonstrably maintaining or improving their fitness levels.
Tests will be done for blood pressure, resting heart rate, body composition, and functional fitness.
People who are maintaining acceptable fitness levels will earn an insurance premium discount for doing so. And deserve it.