An unsightly shade of green

The President talked about health care reform at the White House today, surrounded by a bunch of doctors.
Surrounded by about 150 doctors in white lab coats in the Rose Garden today, President Obama continued his push for health care reform, thanking the doctors for their support.

"What's most telling is that some of the people who are most supportive of reform are the very professionals who know the health care system the best, the doctors and nurses of America," Obama said.

I don't have much to say about this. Yay, health care reform! Etc.

Why am I bothering to mention it then, you might ask. Good question. Because one of those 150 doctors is one of my partners in the practice. And I am just ill with envy.


  1. So which is it? Is the President reforming the way we deliver healthcare, in which case I would look towards physicians for informed opinion, or is he reforming the way we pay for healthcare, in which case I would not look towards physicians for much guidance, finance being outside the normal medical scope of expertise.

    Oh wait, that's right, we are fixing everything all at once, in a great big cluster**** of a healthcare bill that no one, least of all Members of Congress, can read and expect to understand. Lobbyists excepted, of course, they all know which 'special' provision will benefit their clients at the public expense.

    Hey, I know, maybe the President can give a personal appeal and make a speech about this. Why hasn't he thought of this sooner?

  2. Dan..... JG's comments just kills me. Health-care, or lack of reform will continue to suck the life blood from our economy and kill our fellow countrymen. It is a shame the right wing cannot get this through their, (Old Jim would have said *^%### and their *#^$#$$) darn heads. Our president is faced with a task not even Bill Clinton and those reformers before him, I believe he is staying on track. I am certain he will accomplish meaningful reform. At this point he seems to be somewhat stuck in a hard place with Health Care, Afghanistan and a party of fools calling themselves Americans but act like the neighborhood 13 year bully. I quote from a fello Irishman, "A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery."
    Just wait and see!

  3. "Is the President reforming the way we deliver healthcare, in which case I would look towards physicians for informed opinion, or is he reforming the way we pay for healthcare, in which case I would not look towards physicians for much guidance, finance being outside the normal medical scope of expertise."

    This is, actually, a fair point.

    That being said, the argument that "nobody understands" the bill is specious, and could be easily applied to any complex and detailed bill that comes off the Hill.

  4. Dan, I would apply the same criticism to any massive bill; Congress creates bad laws when the complexity of the bill is high. To pick a non-healthcare example, look at CPSIA, which put onerous and expensive regulations on the sale of children's used books, clothing, and bicycles (all require expensive testing, not to mention the tracking provisions that kick in later this year). Groups such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, Easter Seals, and others have repeatedly asked for Congressional relief from these regulations which are wreaking havoc with the poor and with small business[1]. I assure you I am not being inconsistent when I criticise the staggering complexity and impenetrable prose of healthcare reform.

    UJ, I can assure you that Mr. Obama is not a genius by any stretch. Surely the results of the Stimulus (worse than the no-stimulus scenario), the failure to close GITMO, continued rendition, DOMA, DADT, etc., etc., etc. are sufficient to demonstrate the extremely modest level of administrative talent Mr. Obama possesses. I am not willing to wait and see if his *&^%-ups turn into "portals of discovery." I see failure and mismanagement now, and it is my civic duty to object to his wrong-headed and poorly executed agenda.

    [1] Don't worry, Mattel, which has been involved with several lead-paint recalls from its China operations is being exempted from requirements to use independent labs to test its products. I'm sure the fact that Rep. Waxman, head of the relevant House committee, and Mattel Corporation are both from California is all just a coincidence. Right?

  5. "Surely the results of the Stimulus (worse than the no-stimulus scenario)"

    Care to back this statement up?

    Now, I am wholly unfamiliar with CPSIA. But our health care system is byzantine and obscure, and any reform bill is going to be complex. It can't be helped. So, decrying the bill because of its complexity is certain to prolong the status quo.

  6. Your command is my wish. Any way one slices it, current unemployment numbers are well in excess of the administration's no-stimulus projections.

    Regarding complex bills, a well known engineering technique is to take a complex problem and break it into a set of simpler problems. For Congress, I'd suggest breaking apart healthcare reform into delivery reform and financial reform. Each of those could then be further broken down; financial reform could include a bills for reducing the 30% Medicare waste, bills for tort reform, bills for breaking the State monopoly on health insurance regulation, and so forth. There is no need for a monolithic, all singing, all dancing, Buddha alone knows what's in the provisions on page 1184 style bill which no one can understand and which prevents areas where a significant majority agree from being quickly enacted. Smaller, more targeted bills would be more understandable and would enable popular reforms to pass into law quicker. The disadvantage is that lobbyists and staffers would have a much harder time hiding exemptions and giveaways in the text of the bill. From Congress's point of view, that's unacceptable.