Monday, February 11, 2013

Health Policy Speech Options on the Eve of the State of the Union

It's the eve of Mr. Obama's State of the Union address (or, as the beltway cognoscenti apparently refer to it, "SOTU").

What better way for the Disease Management Care Blog readers to mark this momentous occasion than by pretending that we're in the Oval Office advising the President on the best way forward?

Here are some your options in helping our Chief Executive dispatch the problematic sequester, sustainable growth rate, Medicare and health reform.  Who knows, maybe someone from the White House is paying attention.....

Realizing that the sequester is both a bad deal for Medicare and a trap for the Democratic party, you recommend:

1. compromising,
2. changing the subject back to "evil insurers,"
3. a series of heartland speeches with nodding fawning accountants sharing the stage that explains to the American people the federal budget sequester and why you signed the enabling legislation in the first place,
4. hiring a Kardashian lawyer because he'll know how to arrange a quickie divorce from the sequester deal.

To fix the SGR and prevent a physician flight from Medicare participation, you recommend:

1. compromising,
2. changing the subject to "oil companies,"
3. applying the vast anticipated 2016 savings from the "Medical Home" and ACOs to this year's budget shortfall; if necessary add another zero or two,
4. re-tasking the controversial military drone program to drop freshly minted $100 bills on doctors' offices.

You want mention Marilyn Tavenner, Acting Director for CMS, and ask that she confirmed by the Senate.  To make this happen, you advise the President to:

1. nominate her in the regular course of business and trust the Senate will do the right thing,
2. ask her to change the subject to the White House meme of "corporate jets,"
3. announce she will expand the care management program for FFS Medicare beneficiaries, ignoring, for the moment, that that is the largest insured population in the U.S. without that benefit,
4. fix the Chuck Hagel debacle by changing Ms. Taveneer's nomination to Secretary of Defense

 Knowing that the President risks having his second-term being stymied by a defiant opposition party, you suggest Mr. Obama neutralize them by:

1. reaching out with Lincoln-esque "malice toward none and charity for all."
2. characterizing Republicans as "hateful munchkins"
3. recycling the "previous administration" blame strategy by reminding listeners it was Mr. Bush who kicked off the electronic health record mess in a previous State of the Union address and that its yet-unfulfilled promise is not your fault either.
4. suggesting everyone get out of their closed partisan information loops by regularly reading the Disease Management Care Blog.

Since 2014 promises to be the watershed year for Obamacare, you remind the President to:

1. avoid the subject because everyone's projections are turning out to be wrong
2. decide now between the red pill and the blue pill
3.  announce that his White House advisors know more than any commercial health insurance executive about the underlying actuarial equivalence of an essential health benefit
4. in contrast to the 2010 SOTU, be respectful to the Supreme Court because they saved your Obamacare as*.

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