Tonight the nation prepares for the next imminent failure of Congress in its efforts to reform the nation’s health care policy. By the end of the week we will likely read headlines that the efforts of our nation’s leadership landed in the scrap heap again. Why? There is a simple but important lesson here for all of us:
Putting an action plan together before having a goal is a recipe for failure.
For seven years the nation’s majority party leadership had an action plan of “repeal and replace”. Yet they never had a goal. Healthcare policy reform requires a very difficult choice in setting a goal. If the goal is to cover everyone then that costs a lot of money. If we want to save money then we can’t cover every medical condition and every person. But we can’t formulate a goal until we are willing to face that difficult choice.
President Trump is only fueling the failure. He doesn’t care about the goal or it’s impact as long as he can say that he “repealed and replaced”.
The world of politics is infamous for avoiding basic truth like this. Yet the same basic policy issue that has been around since I first considered the impact of national health care policy or the financial planning of individual and small business clients. That was 35 years ago. The difficult choice is not going away and not getting easier. Yet the solution that we will eventually arrive upon is quite obvious. We’ll get there, as Churchill suggests, only after we’ve tried everything else.