Sunday, December 4, 2011

What Can Martial Arts Teach Us About the Health Reform Debate

Despite years of training, the weakling Disease Management Care Blog was never able to prevail in martial arts tournament sparring.  While it might score some points in the early rounds, coming up against a six foot plus 220 lb guy with a kick able to reach Toronto was usually an exercise in Tae Kwon Do humility.

Despite the certainty of defeat, how would the DMCB deal with such superior adversaries? 

One survival technique was to to reduce its profile by standing obliquely sideways.  Both arms were kept up with fists poised on either side of the face and with both elbows on either side of the abdomen.  Since tournament points could only be scored from the waist up, the DMCB found it could block most strikes with minimum arm movement of just a few inches.  Then the DMCB simply waited for Toronto to attack.  Assuming the block was successful, the DMCB would then quickly and sneakily move in while the opponent was pulling back its punch or kick.  That's when he was most vulnerable.

This technique of blocking and then striking on the rebound is not only on ample display in televised cage fighting, but in the sparring over health reform. Whether its modifying the ACA, reforming Medicare or fixing the SGR, the playbook is the same: simply sit tight, await your opponent's proposal and then strike back immediately with a mix of rhetoric, partisanship and invective.

Unfortunately for our Republic, martial arts also teaches us that while that approach may in aid in the short-term survival of weaklings, it's ultimately not a strategy for winners.  The DMCB never got a trophy by hunkering down, and that sparring technique will not create the kinds of thoughtful solutions that can overcome Medicare's cost spiral or the Affordable Care Act's shortcomings.

What wins is initiative, innovation and risk-taking in an aggressive series of proactive moves.  Say what you like about progressive Obamacare or the conservative Ryan Plan, their champions went on the offensive.  That skill not only wins tournaments, it ultimately wins in politics.

Image from Wikipedia

1 comment:

Bob Bowman said...

It took 15 years to subvert the original Medicare and Medicaid designs.

It took a few years to make managed care unmanageable.

It took only a few months to take the heart out of 2010s reforms long overdue.

What we learned is that those in the 1000 zip codes with 50% of workforce and even greater proportions of US health spending are even more powerful.