Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grammy-Like Health Care Reform

The Disease Management Care Blog doesn’t pay much attention to the annual Grammy Awards. It can’t remember who won what and when. After all, who really cares? Many of those tunes by Kelly GaGa Spears are better suited for that dimwitted corner of the DMCB world made up of long elevator rides or being reminded again on how the SGR formula will mean the end of Civilization. Unable to participate in the vicarious joy that comes from viewing vulgar dance sets, shallow coolness, sappy acceptance speeches and ephemeral talent, the DMCB's situation is, by any modern measure, sad when it comes to this corner of the music industry.

And such is the uncanny and likewise sad resemblance with the Grammy Awards of the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of health reform with 219 ayes. No wonder that so much of modern politics involve pop-star concerts and vice versa. While admittedly historic, House passage Sunday night was really made possible by a White House and Congress that trumped glitter over governance, personalities over policy and rhetoric over reality. The public behavior of our elected officials has been no less characterized by dancing around the real issues, shallow glibness, silly speeches and ephemeral facts. They have composed partisan legislation that deserves a 2010 Grammy for Best Vacuous Easy Listenin’ Tune. Tap you foot and hum along with this basic chord progression of evil insurers, funny-money deficit reduction and cowardice in the face of our insatiable appetite for health care.

While the coming tsunami of bureaucrats, lobbyists, supplicants, regulators and litigators is bad enough, what really alarms the DMCB is the prospect of even more Grammy Award-like competitions in the coming health care wars. The result will be an unending series short-lived, muzak pieces that play on anecdotes that best serve the interests of whichever party in power can bend the system to get its way.

The DMCB isn’t quite sure how to score all the societal-political-cultural-economic ingredients that got us to this point. While the smarter news outlets and the sister blogs will undoubtedly have lots of insights, the DMCB doubts few will recognize how pop music mentality has been woven into the fabric of our national decision-making.

Others may tut-tut about the DMCB being a nattering curmudgeonly sourpuss weenie. After all, the political process is what it is and you win some and you lose some. In addition, who’s to say what makes for good legislation or music, other than the test of time? Granted, but the DMCB is betting that this health care bill will ultimately be more akin to a one-hit wonder than any enduring piece of music. This superficial piece of legislation will likewise fall far short of any meaningful legacy that adequately tackles costs, reduces the dysfunctions of government or harnesses market-based ingenuity. Expect to come back year after year to new slates of tunes followed by more tunes.

*Picture from Wikipedia

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