Sunday, December 14, 2008

Still Musing...

I find myself still musing on the news story I wrote about the other day regarding the opinions of the economics professor from Princeton who urges us to consider that health care is the largest sector of our economy. If we start to shift too much of it to government, we may further damage our fragile economy.

Why did this story strike a chord with me? Of course, as a small business owner, especially in a health related business, I am completely tuned into anything about health care, the economy and business. But, this interview is really working on me. Why is that? One reason is that it challenged many of my "natural" beliefs. Having worked for insurance companies and health maintenance organizations in the past, I know well the economics and politics of both the business and delivery sides of health care. I know about the "waste" that Professor Reinhardt spoke about, too. As a caregiver and someone who interacts with caregivers every day, I am also highly attuned to the very personal aspects of health care. The fragmentation of our health care system is appalling; it chews people up every day. And, as a business person who experiences the wiles of insurance companies and government programs on a daily basis, I have strong opinions about how things should work. So, even though we operate our business on a consumer model, one not dependent in any great measure on insurance revenue, I consistently believe things can change for the better, that health care is a responsibility our government should, at the very least, oversee. I have been excited about the prospects of a new administration that may stimulate a long overdue change process. When I put this all together, however, I find that Professor Reinhardt's perspectives gave me pause, in spite of my strong personal opinions. What if this system that is so flawed changes in ways that create even more economic woes? What happens if it stays the same? How much more "burden" can we bear as individuals and a society? Have we become too accustomed to considering health care a "burden," instead of an opportunity? What might replace this large chunk of the economy if we shifted a significant amount of the responsibility to government?

I am sure I will be pondering these questions into the new year. As someone whose passion and business revolves around health care, I know the answers to these questions are complex and challenging. Many, many minds will need to be part of finding the next approaches.

What do you think about all of this? Where do you stand in this health care debate. Tell us your story of how health care plays in your life.

No comments: