As far as politics is concerned, I have only ever been able to talk about it with one dear friend of mine without feeling anger and frustration. In fact, we talked about it yesterday evening and I came away feeling like we were both on the same side even though I know we disagree on many aspects of the issue we discussed. Interesting isn't it? I think our discussion was calm and rational only because we have such a good relationship with each other that we were trying to understand rather than change the other's opinion.
So, hopefully I'm not going to offend anyone here but here's my take on Healthcare Reform: I feel that we do need to change the current state of healthcare in our nation. It's ridiculous that the wealthiest nation on earth has millions of citizens that do not have access and/or cannot afford health care. It's ridiculous to me that an insurance company can raise premiums at will - that recently, an insurance company in California increased premiums by over 30%. How about the fact that most personal bankruptcies are a result of high medical bills? And, our emergency rooms are being used as urgent care facilities by the uninsured which is dangerous for people who really need emergency care and also increases cost of care for everyone. These are just a few of the problems we have in our current health system.
Now, whether or not the bill just passed by Congress is the right solution is arguable. I know that many people around me believe that it's the first step toward socialism. I agree that forcing people to do something is not a good idea. It's too bad that the politicians can't seem to work together toward a real best solution. I feel that there was too much ego and money involved. The whole process wasn't about finding the best solution, it was about power and perception and even deception. Would it be too much to ask that everyone involved be rational? Probably.
My only idea is what my friend suggested - that we put all the engineers in charge of solving this problem. I like it. We could use the Six Sigma methodology. Here's the Six Sigma methodology as defined by Wikipedia:
Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization ("Black Belts", "Green Belts", etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified targets. These targets can be financial (cost reduction or profit increase) or whatever is critical to the customer of that process (cycle time, safety, delivery, etc.).Part of Six Sigma is identifying all the causes of defects and then choosing those that would have the highest impact and lowest cost. So if we applied it to the health care problem, we could list the causes of high cost and then work on the areas that would reduce the cost for everyone. By reducing the cost of health care we make it more accessible to the lower income population and more affordable for everyone. The government would not have to spend billions of dollars to help people buy health insurance.