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Yogi on Health Care

As we approach the height of the baseball season with the playoffs and World Series on the horizon and we approach the height of the debate over health care reform, I thought we should enlist the opinion of a well known philosopher and pragmatist. Many have an opinion of who will win the World Series and even more have opinions on health care reform. Who better to advise us on both than Yogi Berra.

Yogi has uttered many memorable things, but none more memorable than “I knew I was going to take the wrong train so I left early”. Perhaps health care reform is moving too quickly and that although necessary, we aren’t really at the point where we could make final decisions and any artificial time deadlines or goals represent not only leaving early, but perhaps on the wrong train.

The application of this  Yogi-ism  is remarkable. “If you don’t know where you are going you will end up somewhere else.” In health care reform we certainly don’t know where we are going and many don’t even recognize where we want to be. A good number of individuals are happy right where they are.

Yogi once said, “You better cut the pizza in six pieces because I am not hungry enough to eat eight”. Some feel that the changes we are making in health care will reapportion the pieces of the pie, but not make it any smaller and may not make it any better. We all recognize that we cannot afford the rise in health care costs, but all want to be sure the changes we make will result in meaningful cost reductions. Yogi’s statement, “A nickel isn’t worth a dime today”, does raise the specter of how we’ll pay for our current standard of health care in the future or the costs under a new program.

All of us fear creating a new health care system that misses the mark and even those ideas that have ‘slam dunk success’ written all over them, many not be. Who could have envisioned that the very ‘successful’ “Cash for Clunkers” program would have lead to a significant impact on the used car and automotive repair businesses? Along these lines Yogi warns, “90% of putts that are short don’t go in”.

Yogi’s quote, “This is like deja-vu all over again” seems made for health care reform when one considers what happened to the Clinton health care reform of the mid-90s. It certainly does seem that we have already seen this movie. And lastly, with remarkable logic, Yogi states, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”. Certainly, the health care reform field is crowded with many opinions, biases, thoughts, proposals and agendas. Rather than following along like lemmings or withdrawing from the entire arena because of its complexity and emotionality, hopefully, we’ll all remain involved in our thoughts, opinions and desire to influence health care reform to create the best health care system we can. Most of us wish that political agendas were less evident in proposals and debate. Most believe that all Americans should have basic health coverage and when it comes to our politicians I hope they will work together in a nonpolitical way. Can you hear Yogi exhorting our leaders to , “Play ball”?

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September 18, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , ,

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