Posted by: Inside-Out Peace | October 21, 2009

Wading Into The Health Care Ruckus

Health care reform is such a huge issue right now I’m feeling like this blog is a bit incomplete without at least a little something about it.  A person’s health certainly does have a direct bearing on their inner peacefulness, and the injustices and waste that are rampant in our current system are neither an equitable nor sustainable use of resources.  That change is necessary, cannot rationally be disputed. 

BUT.  The way the politicians in Washington, D.C. are going about creating that change leaves a great deal to be desired as well.  When we humans undertake a conscious act, we are responsible for all the consequences of that action. 

On one side, some are seeking to create change of such enormous magnitude that they can’t possibly know what all the consequences will be.  This is irresponsible. 

On the other side, some are opposing that change by capitalizing on humans’ inherent nervousness in response to change, creating irrational fears among their constituents and igniting and fanning flames of rebellious anger with their exaggerated misrepresentations.  It has become more about “winning” than about health.  This is also irresponsible. 

If both sides continue in this manner then, regardless of which side prevails, they and the American people as a whole will lose something very important to good governance: control.

In a small system, it’s possible to make multiple changes at once and accurately predict the outcome of those changes.  The health care system is not small.  It is gigantic.  There are so many dependencies we couldn’t even name them all if we tried.  The best approach to improving a large system is an incremental approach.  Pick the one thing that is the most egregiously wrong with the system, and just fix that.  (I don’t know enough to say which thing that is, but others out there do.)  See what effect that one small change has, and then fix the next-most egregious thing.  And so on. 

A series of small changes is not as politically glamorous as passing one huge reform bill, but it is much more likely to result in real, sustained improvements without throwing half the country into a panic and the whole country into turmoil.



  1. I probably disagree with your answers to the problems, but feel you are spot-on in your analysis that “The best approach to improving a large system is an incremental approach.” This is problem resolution 101. We need to pull out certain problems, especially ones that can be agreed upon, and solve them. Then we can see the effect they have, and see what next to solve.

    Well-written peace… I mean piece.

  2. I’m not sure that incremental/piecemeal change is intrinsically the best option with large systemic problems like this. It may be that small changes can only be bandaids on this type of issue and addressing the root causes of the problem is the only real solution.

    • Can you say more about why you see small changes, and addressing root causes, as exclusive of each other?

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