A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Slow Revolution of Health Care Reform

Events recognized as being historical usually have far-reaching consequences. They can affect people’s lives for years, if not centuries. Yet the event itself that alters the course of mankind can happen in the blink of an eye.

Two recent examples demonstrate my point. On Sunday, August 23, 2009, the Philadelphia Phillies were in danger of losing another close game to their arch rivals, the New York Mets. With no outs and two Mets on base in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies closer, Brad Lidge, was having another difficult time retiring the side.

The next batter hit the ball, which was caught by the second baseman, Eric Bruntlett. Out number one! The momentum of his catch forced him to step on the bag at second base, which had just been vacated by one of the Mets. Force out number two! Then he reached out to tag the Mets player running from first base. After a short dance, Bruntlett tagged the runner and completed an unassisted triple play to end the ball game.

This event happened within seconds, and in fact it took me longer to describe it than the time it took to execute the play. The play was historic because it was the first time in the National League’s 120+ year history that an unassisted triple play ended a game.

The second event which seemed to happen quickly was the election of Barack Obama. I’m not talking about his campaign for the election, which took months to play out, but rather the climax of the election drama itself passed at seemingly the speed of light. I will always remember the moment when CNN announced that the polls in California were just closing.

A commercial break happened, and suddenly CNN (and all the other news outlets) were announcing that Barack Obama was the next President of the United States. No more mention of California, no more analysis about how this or that state voted, and no more exit polls questioned. It was over, just like that. (Insert snapping finger sound effect here.)

I mention all of this because of the speed which Obama’s health care reform plan has been given in Congress. His administration naturally set a deadline before the House and Senate recessed for the summer. It’s important to them to get it passed, let society feel the benefits of his reform and move on to other pressing issues. Unfortunately this is one historical event which should not be accomplished at the velocity of a swinging baseball bat.

Barack Obama’s health care reform plan(s) are nothing short of revolutionary. If he succeeds in seeing his ideas signed into law, then the effects will be felt by all segments of society for decades to come. We should remember one thing: revolutions are not painless. Historically, they are long drawn-out affairs which can be very bloody. I doubt that blood will be shed in this revolution, although some of the tea baggers attending the town hall meetings debating health care with their grassroots disinformation and shotguns do make me nervous.

Now I do have some definite ideas about health care reform, but for several reasons I do not feel comfortable voicing them at present. The main reason for my silence on the subject is something which can be termed as a conflict of interest. I should remind everyone now that I am employed in the health insurance industry, a sector of the American economy which has been mucho maligned in the public debate about health care reform.

For those not familiar with the conflict of interest concept, let me explain it this way. I am very much interested in long term employment for say another, oh, 20 years or so. In this capacity, I could pay my mortgage, put food on the table, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle because of the health benefits afforded to me by my job. However, if I voice an opinion — good, bad, or indifferent, one way or the other — about the issue, then my company might perceive my comments to be in conflict with my interest in remaining gainfully employed. Do you see where I’m going with this? I think you do!

My whole point here is that we should take our time, let all sides make their views known, and hopefully we’ll hammer out some sort of deal that will make everyone happy. We should all prepare for a long, hard battle, but the fruits of eventual victory for the common good will be sweet in the end.

So, for the time being, I will have nothing more to say on the health care reform subject, even though I could easily fill several blogs with my thoughts on the matter. I will not say anything about pre-existing conditions, health care provider profits, tort reform, or a public option. If pressed on any of these issues, I will just smile and say, “Hey, how about that unassisted triple play? Wasn’t that awesome?”

(Thank you for reading. Please remember to get checked once a year for [insert your favorite ailment here]!)


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