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My “Fix Healthcare” Panel If I Were Elected

Have you ever thought: “What if I won an election and was put in charge of an administration?”

Halloween weekend seemed the perfect time for considering the fantasy (or some would argue the horror) of a DrJohnM administration. (Let it be known, I have some leadership experience: I lead local group rides with some success. A community organizer of sorts.) But for the sake of college-like dreaming, let’s consider government under my realm.

First off, clearly the present-day political costumes would have to change. There would be a ban on suits, ties (MRSA-spreading), and uncomfortable shoes. People think better if they are dressed in comfy clothes. It works for Google.

Of course, since I am a practicing doctor, a focus of my administration would be on healthcare reform. And like our current president, I would also have “expert” panels — only my “fix healthcare” panel would look very different. To illustrate these phenotypical differences, let’s consider some of my panel’s inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Panel exclusions:

Anyone with a 4.0 GPA. You are out. Sorry, there are plenty of other think tanks for you, in pretty cool places too, like Cambridge, Ann Arbor, and Palo Alto. A very wise retired urologist once told me that B students nearly always make better doctors, and surely those who tried other things in life (besides the classroom) will make better real-life decisions.

“Cubicle people” are obviously excluded. We don’t dislike you as a person, but our committee will need decision-makers who toil outside the confines of a cubicle. Life is much different outside of cubicles.

For that matter, any professional students — those without a real job — are likewise excluded.

Because we need real-world healthcare people, to be on this healthcare panel one will have had (say for at least a decade) to have worked hours before 0800 or after 1700. Chronic nine-to-fivers cannot ever understand the 24-hour cycle of delivering healthcare.

Social media phobes are excluded. You cannot be expected to move healthcare forward if you are scared of Facebook or Twitter.

Inclusion criteria:

It’s a healthcare committee, so obviously healthcare professionals will get the hot-line. Sure, we will need some statistics people, a few token PhDs and even a lawyer, but doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social-workers, hospital administrators, and even insurance company executives will form the crux of our committee. People in the know should make policy decisions. Obviously.

Members will have to be smart, but not too smart, be open-minded, but not wishy-washy, nice but not syrupy, and considerate, but not deferential.

Of course, endurance athletes, like cyclists, will have favored status. But let’s be clear, people who incorporate an active lifestyle are much different than the drilled-out, pale-skinned, permanently sad-faced vegetarian ultra-athletes, or the self-absorbed triathletes, so-called iron-people, whose lives revolve around how tired they can make themselves over-training. Again, we don’t dislike you goofballs as people, it’s just that you can’t be on our common-sense panel.

In the same vain, if you exclusively shop at Whole Foods, or have not recently indulged in some manner of processed food, animal flesh, or inflammatory dairy product you cannot serve on our committee. The think-tankers from Cambridge and Palo Alto will surely have a place for you and your tofu snacks.

Chislers (cheapskates) are not welcome on our committee either. We will be fair-minded and expect some manner of shared sacrifice. For example, if you ride a $10,000 bike and plead for free housing at an out-of-town race, you are excluded.

Since most of America is fat, we need a few fat people on our panel. Since our committee will likely suggest solutions that involve a healthy dose of personal responsibility in health, it may not be easy for them, but life isn’t fair. Sorry about that.

Grounds for dismissal from the panel:

Panel members will have to sign a (hand)written contract on a single-sheet of paper stipulating that if the committee assesses your views as too self-serving, you are dismissed. This panel will have an ethos that puts the greater good above personal gain. Members will need to understand that when all benefit, so do individuals — like successful sports teams and businesses.

Other grounds for dismissal will be the repetitive proclaiming of politically-correct, on-message talking points. Politico-speak will be dealt with harshly.

So there it is. A fantasyland, common-sense panel. If given a chance in forging healthcare solutions, I like their chances against the think-tank, PhD-types any day. But I did bump my head pretty hard last week.


*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

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