Thursday, January 17, 2008

Remember Nancy Johnson?

The Disease Management Blog has been on the road, making a living, personally washing the hotel room glass ware and taking advantage of some free internet access. And guess who I ran into in my travels: none other than the Honorable Nancy Johnson, former member of Congress who represented the 5th District of Connecticut. Her 24 year term included being Chair of Subcommittee on Health for the very powerful House Ways and Mean Committee. Veteran disease managemenites will readily recognize her as a principle architect of the historical Medicare Modernization Act that launched what eventually came to be known as Medicare Health Support

It may be my imagination, but the way she talks about her career makes me think she misses being a member of Congress. She also seems disappointed by how her record was framed by her opposition and the tone of many of the attacks against her. I don’t presume to get into the difference between being biased versus being balanced in matters of the Beltway (at least not on this blog) but I think this is another example of the coarsening and polarization of our nation’s political discourse. Our Republic is worse off for it and lessens the prospect (as discussed below) of meaningful health care reform.

It’s a good thing I didn’t read the vituperative links before I ran into her, because I was charmed by this energetic, bespeckled, talkative bundle of energy with an astonishing depth of knowledge in topics including but not limited to Middle East, small business, information technology, South American trade and, of course, health care. She remains very interested in the progress of MHS, was concerned about the 5% savings requirement and agrees the non-equivalence of the intervention and control patients that emerged after randomization but before the intervention could be having a significant impact on the results.

She now ably advises clients of the Baker Donelson law firm as a senior public policy advisor and tells me she loves her work.

Asked how she feels about no longer being in Congress, Ms. Johnson gave me a big smile and said “It’s freeing. I can pay attention to topics for more than three minutes at a time.”

No comments: