Health care reform: America will get it right

    Well for all you boomers out there … to quote a very famous character from the past a.k.a. Gomer Pyle (USMC) brought to life by Jim Nabors  … “Well G-O-L-L-L-E-E-E!”

    We passed a health care reform bill!!!!

    Depending on your perspective, this is either a great moment in our country’s history or the end of our Democracy as we know it.

    Like everything today, it seems we are all very polarized in our opinions. From my perspective, that is OK. Change is never easy, and most Americans truly believe we need to change health care fundamentally. It’s the process that drives us all a little crazy at times! Eventually, things usually get to the right decision, albeit with a lot more angst than in years past.

    One key point often forgotten in all the recent debate is no bullets are fired in order to reach a decision. Riot police are not involved, and no one has been falsely imprisoned or tortured. (Some might debate parts of this statement.)

    Like it or not, we do compete in a worldwide market, and the escalating costs of health care are not doing any of us any favors as we compete against other countries for lucrative export opportunities, which fuel job creation.

    This was brought home the other day as I listened keenly to a presentation by Tim Sullivan of Bucyrus International Inc. He has basically taken a firm, as he said, “That some of his predecessors tried to kill,” and created a worldwide mining equipment juggernaut.

    His company will be adding hundreds of high-paying jobs over the next 10 to 20 years as he competes around the world against global competitors who have more liberal government subsidies, militant unions and socialized health care delivery models. To win this business, he needs proactive government support and a competitive cost structure, of which health care is a key component.

    I believe the health care system will improve, but in all fairness, the Congressional approval of the reforms should be viewed only as a starting point.

    Yes, there will be winners and losers as we move forward, but that is part of our free enterprise system. More government control or less, private-side solutions married to public-side regulation – it’s how we get to a final solution. In all likelihood, the political bullwhip effect may well kick in this fall, and the opposition will have its chance to make its changes.

    Resolution then moves to the middle.

    I think we all try to teach our kids about compromise. Innovation is born from the combination of ideas in a unique way, regardless of which party they came from.

    So my point is simply this. We will eventually get it right. We won’t all agree, but we will have an improved outcome. It will take time – maybe years – but as one prominent health care executive stated, “At least we are moving in the right direction towards a better system.”

    Oh, one last point … Beware of the “gloom and doomers,” for they will predict failure.  They always do, and they get the lion’s share of the headlines.

    Yes, maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m going to firmly plant my feet on the side of expecting a successful outcome. I strongly believe 90 percent of it is getting your head right, i.e. if you think you can solve a tough issue/sale/relationship, you probably will. It’s an attitude my parents taught me. Americans really are a creative lot when forced to fix a problem. It’s in our DNA.

    Having said that, we all need to emulate the leadership of Tim Sullivan (and other corporate CEOs around town) who are determined to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. Take personal responsibility for a better outcome.

    It will be fascinating to look back 10 years from now and see how this historic moment is viewed!

    I may have it totally wrong, but I have a hunch it will be viewed as a good start!


    Gary Billington is vice president of client relations at Plunkett Raysich Architects LLP in Milwaukee.

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