The Power of “Why”

The number of health care bills being presented for our benevolence is overwhelming.  A bunch of radical liberal lawyers elected to represent us are hiring major lobby groups to write legislation. The writers must get paid by the page because the bills get longer and longer. I can only imagine that the cost to us will escalate with each page.

Intelligent Design

It is obvious to me that there isn’t a single problem solver in the entire administration. They haven’t got a clue as to how to approach the solution to health care reform. I was faced with cost cutting situations many times on my job. We never approached the problem by inventing a new one. The first step is to define the problem. The next step is to analyze where your money is going. The next step is to find the root cause. Then, and only then, could we design improvements or alternatives.

None of this is easy. It takes a lot of diligent effort and focus to stay on track. So far, I have heard only two things that define the health care problem: 1. The cost is too high. 2. End of life costs account for too much of the budget.

I also hear many remarks telling me that the bills will cut waste and fraud to pay for the improvements. Have you ever heard of a single page in any of the bills that is dedicated to finding and cutting waste? If you find one, let me know the number of the bill and the page, I want to read it. 

Put me in charge of this problem and I will come up with true reform, not reinvention to dump the old and begin with a new mire of costs. First, I would form a team of the best Black Belt Engineers that I know. We would insist on accurate definition of the problem. Second, we would conduct a Pareto analysis of the money being spent on the entire healthcare system. This would include the costs spent by insurance companies as well as providers. Don’t get me wrong, this is not simple. Getting those numbers would be a monumental charge. They are necessary however, in order to effect true reform. Currently, all we have is the total cost. In order to know how to reform, we need a breakdown of cost by functions. What are the functions: Administration, hospital, medical staff, supplies, records, legal, insurance, drugs, etc. Not having the cost categories in front of me limits how many categories I can assign charges to. All of these costs would then be totaled and charted;  the highest cost to the lowest cost.  My guess is that there would be one category that would tower over all the others.  Once I had that chart in front of me, the work of analyzing “why” begins. The greatest opportunity lies in the single largest cost function. Another method  we use to analyze costs is the 80/20 rule; eighty percent of the good comes from twenty percent of the activity. My black belt team would then begin asking “why” we incur the costs.  

The power of “why” resides in repeated questioning. Ask why. Get an answer;  ask why that is the answer.  Get another answer, ask why again, etc. eventually, the answers are harder to get. Eventually, the root cause of a problem becomes more evident.  Once the root cause is defined a solution is easier to effect. Sometimes the root cause is never found, and then change is chancy. It is my opinion that most of the time, the root cause would be some government intervention in the form of a law written by some representative to cover some obscure problem one of his constituents had. Politicians are famous for introducing legislation that insures a problem will never occur again. Years later, we learn the consequences of the law as applied to the general population.

Recently, I had a personal experience with an end of life situation. In an earlier post, I wrote about my beloved Aunt Marie passing. The bill she incurred while dying was horrific. I can see how the administration is touting end of life as a high cost element of reform. Here is what I saw. Marie is ninety-four. She has a multitude of physical problems that have made her last few months really miserable. She covered herself with a living will, and specific end of life instructions.  While helping her go to bed one evening, the attendant at her nursing home notice she was bleeding from her colostomy.  A hundred years ago, she would have simply bled to death at home. In a nursing home, the staff cries uncle and calls 911; why?  They are not equiped to handle a situation such as Marie’s. Why? She had prepared them with current instructions on the kind of treatment she wanted to keep her alive, yet they couldn’t grant her that request. They had to pass the ball to an emergency room. 

The ER finds her bleeding and begins treatment  by giving her blood. The hospital asks the family if  she has a living will? The document printed on bright orange paper stands out in the chart sent along with her records from the nursing home. Does anyone read these things, do they care?  By this time, she was admitted and being given blood to extend her life. $$$$$.

I consults with my daughter and  several doctors.  We learn that any further procedure to learn the cause of her bleeding presents an extraordinary means, and a violation of her body for very little else but more pain and suffering.   Since I am her DPOA (durable power of attorney), I request she go into hospice. She was sent back to her home to die. She expired within five days. It is my belief that giving her blood only extended her life for a week. The cost was covered by Medicare and supplemental insurance. It is high, but not as high as it would have been had common sense not prevailed.

True health care reform is improving the system in place, not re-inventing the round wheel to  make it square. My approach to reform is a logical one. The approach , however, does not yield control of our lives  to the government. It rather, keeps our liberty and makes us responsible to fix the problem ourselves. We can do it.

I have my team already picked. I know with the people I have in mind, we could make true reform happen within three years. It would be a logical, lasting reform of the health care system which would be the model for the rest of the world. We would use good old Yankee ingenuity and diligence to solve the problem, not legislation. Why not give me the chance to “get-r-done?”

Is Uncle Ted Killing Caroline’s Chances?

My Flag Flies Everyday

My Flag Flies Everyday

I don’t believe the liberal press and their treatment of Caroline Kennedy. One would think that after the way the press kissed Obama’s butt they would welcome Caroline with open arms. I could understand their treatment of Sarah Palin, but not Caroline.  Sarah presented a major threat to the Messiah and they had to annihilate her. They did a fine job of it. Now they are doing the same with Harvard educated liberal minded Caroline. What’s up?  Why is it that an ordinary citizen is not qualified for the job of  U.S. Senator. Barack did it, he wasn’t qualified either, but somehow he got out that stressful job into another. They say that if you have an employees who is totally unqualified, promote him to a new level, and let someone else deal with him. We did that.

Caroline’s only problem is her name. She is definitely linked to her Uncle Ted. We all seem to think that the Kennedy clan is too wealthy  for the rest of us. We want to punish them for being so rich. They don’t have to work for a living so they find nice cushy public service jobs. In their minds they are giving back to the peons.

I heard a news commentator discuss Caroline’s use of too many uhs for a Harvard graduated lawyer. Caroline sounds like a teen ager when she speaks.  The commentators recommendation was to find a good speech coach and work hard.  My recommendation is to let Harvard know they have a problem with their method. If the world expects every Harvard graduate to speak eloquently, the world should expect Harvard to train them to speak eloquently. 

 Since when does eloquent speech qualify a person for the Senate? Is that in the job description? I want someone who can read, and  write, and has some common sense. We don’t need another eloquent speaking lawyer writing laws to invent instituions like Fanni Mae, and Freddie Mac. We need Senators who will reduce the size of the government and let  the people in Washington find  jobs that add to the quality of the economy.

I want a Senator who will make spread sheets on the cost of running government, and then apply the Pareto Principle known as the 80/20 rule. It’s so simple  even a Harvard lawyer can figure it out.  Perhaps the law students should take some courses in the Harvard business school. Eighty percent of the good comes from twenty percent of the activity. That would mean alot of office space in DC becomes available for rent. It also means we would pay eighty percent less taxes.

A good Senator would concentrate on identifying the activities that are in the twenty percent, and work at eliminating the remainder. That is the way companies run their businesses. The principles work in any organization including our sacred government.

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