Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why Not a Televised Speech To Persons in the Nation's Physicians' Waiting Rooms?

Not without some controversy, President Obama gave an welcoming first day address to school students in Arlington Virginia that was broadcast to the rest of the nation's schools. He stressed hard work and personal responsibility while drawing on his own past and the success of others who made it against the odds. This is where rhetoric can count. One of the viewers is probably a future President.

Which is why the Disease Management Care Blog humbly offers up a similar text that the President can use to record a speech that can be televised to persons sitting in physician waiting rooms. It's paraphrased from the prepared text of the school address and also stresses the same themes of hard work and personal responsibility. While comparative effectiveness research would be needed to assess its impact versus placebo (like Ms. Pelosi's views on health care), it beats having to read outdated magazines or staring at the institutionally beige walls and fake potted plants:

I know for many of you, you haven’t seen a doctor for a long time. It’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. You’re probably wishing you were somewhere else. I know that feeling. When my mom wasn’t teaching me at 4:30 in the morning in Indonesia, I could have come down with diphtheria or beriberi. And these Town Halls have been no picnic for me. And sitting in that waiting room now is no picnic for you.

But seriously. I’ve given a lot of speeches about healthcare. Sometimes I’ve made sense too., when I’m not talking blue and red pills. But I haven’t talked much about responsibility. I’ve talked to your doctors. They’re tired of hearing from me. Sometimes they even boo.

I know you’re still adjusting to having to see the doctor. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your health care and what’s expected of you. It’s time to talk responsibility.

Yes, there’s responsibility of the docs. Of the hospitals. Of government. Of insurers. But at the end of the day, we can have the best docs, hospitals, government and insurers and none of it will matter unless you fulfill your responsibility. You owe it to yourself.

Every one of you has something you can do to improve your health. Maybe you can start using the stairs. Going outside to walk, even if it’s down the driveway and back. Maybe it’s changing from 3 large meals to 5 smaller meals a day, or eating more fruit. It may be less salt. Or not using tobacco. Or drinking less alcohol. Or wearing a seatbelt. Or watching less TV, especially those silly morning shows and their ridiculous health care advice.

Plus, you’ll need knowledge and problem solving skills, use new technologies, develop new insights and gain critical skills to fight your chances of getting a chronic disease. The health care system has created new options that can help you gain creativity and ingenuity to develop a lifestyle that is right for you. It's becoming more and more available. It's on the way.

You need to develop your health care talents, skills and intellect so that YOU can solve your most difficult health care problems. If you don’t do that, no amount of money spent by a government that is wiling to bankrupt itself will save you.

Maybe you don’t have the kind of insurance you need. Maybe you lost your job and are on COBRA. Maybe there’s no money to go around. That’s no excuse for doing something, for not taking care of yourself as much as you can, for not trying. Because here in America, your health status is largely what you make of it. You make your own future.

Like a patient from the Disease Management Care Blog’s past. By the way, I LIKE to read the DMCB. I never follow its policy advice, but that may change. But Bill the patient kept going to the emergency room. He hated it. It was all paid for, he had great insurance. But he didn’t know about diet and exercise and the right medicines to keep his symptoms under control. He said enough was enough and with the help of a nurse – not a doctor, but a nurse – found the key of knowledge to better control things.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals to improve your health and do everything you can do to meet them.

Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.

But the truth is, being responsible for your health is hard. You won’t love learning about it. There’s a lot you won’t understand. Not every thing you do will seem that relevant with everything else going on in your life. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try. I’ve tried to stop smoking and I don’t let failures define me.

Your doctors, your hospitals, and your government are doing everything we can to make sure you have the healthcare you need. I’m working hard to fix up your insurance and get you the medicines, primary care and information access you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do on behalf of your own health. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. I know you can do it.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America


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