Monday, June 25, 2012

Stacking the Deck in Health Care Policy

If no poster, a statue maybe?
The Disease Management Care Blog is always on the lookout for wall decor for its fashionable world headquarters and all but decided on this framed poster picture. The alarmed DMCB spouse inappropriately intervened, citing a host of silly concerns*.

The politically shrewd DMCB countered the spouse's raw power play by appealing for the input from a stacked deck of friends and family. They appreciatiate the similarities between the bon vivant DMCB and The King, and they also have a sense of humor.  Thusly armed with the support of its handpicked cadre, the DMCB thought the day was won.

Why not?  The DMCB is only copying from the White House's playbook.  Check out this HHS press release.

Dare: June 20, 2012 11:30 AM PDT
Subject: External Affairs Welcomes Dr. Mandy Cohen
Dear Stakeholders,
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Mandy Cohen has joined our team in the HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (IEA) as Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Provider Engagement. In her new role, she will focus on the Department’s work to transform the delivery system and oversee the Department’s outreach and engagement with clinicians, health professionals and other providers.

For the past two years, Dr. Cohen has been the Director of Stakeholder Engagement at the CMS Innovation Center, working with the Center’s many constituencies to develop and test new payment and delivery models. Prior to joining CMS she was the Executive Director of Doctors for America. Dr. Cohen received her medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. (bolding DMCB)

Dr. Cohen and I both look forward to working with you as we improve the health care system together. 
The DMCB was first introduced to "Doctors for America" thanks to this HuffPo posting describing a mutual-admiration health reform meeting at the White House. Having never heard of Doctors for America, the DMCB naturally turned to Wikipedia, where it all became clear

The DFA used to be known as DFO, i.e., Doctors for Obama during the 2008 elections. While the White House also gets to conflate the "A" and the "O," it's real purpose is the portrayal of getting seemingly neutral input from an impressively named physician organization that is not the AMA.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the DMCB will get its way on the hanging the picture.  Unsurprisingly, the White House's stacking the deck with political backers doesn't mean they're necessary going to get their way on health care either. 

(In all fairness, however, it should be pointed out that CMS is working with former AMA President Nielson).

Statue image from Wikipedia

*The controversial poster shot  was taken during rehearsals for the filming of Captain EO in 1986.

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