Chris T. Pernell
Doctor and Clergywoman

Chris T. Pernell

Chris T. Pernell is a doctor and an ordained clergywoman in New Jersey. Two of her recent projects include a prison-based wellness program and a faith-based childhood obesity initiative.

Delay Is Not Denial

Health-care reform is mandatory. And ambivalence cannot be tolerated. But it appears that health-care legislation has nearly flat-lined. ...

If not dead, it is at least endangered. Given the fractious party infighting and cross party trash talk which have overtly politicized the fray, a once receptive public is showing battle fatigue. While politicians are stuck in what is politically expedient, American health care remains a ticking time bomb. Still, all hope is not lost. Like the American Bald Eagle, what is needed is a coalition of the willing, those who can nurse meaningful reform from the brink of extinction. And with Congress soon to embark on its August recess, I rehearse the chorus of my life "delay does not mean denial."

Though a physician, I too have been a patient. Years back, a medical disability threatened my career, but I learned to wage a careful war against the inevitable and somehow craft a workable solution. At first, I thought time away from the hospital during a crucial point in my training would wreck everything. But time away, caused me to reevaluate, (indeed under pressure), and transition myself into a niche which could afford me professional flexibility without risking well-being. My agenda changed, but not my mandate to affect the care process.

Likewise, if we framed the system of health care as a patient, albeit one which has coded and desperately needs resuscitation, then in the push to overhaul it, viability would not be made a casualty of demagoguery. And, yes time is of the essence. Not to say that the health-care bill is doomed if it is not passed before the summer recess, however, never before has the moment been as ripe to achieve system-wide changes. With enough of the essential stakeholders conceding that a revamp is needed, Congress would be reckless not to ford the impasse and arrive at pragmatic yet provocative challenges to the status quo.

The art of compromise is chock-full with irony. If we hold less to party lines and decide in favor of public interest, then there will be concessions but above all there will be bona fide advances. Strategy warrants a careful weighing of the options and logical solutions, rather than a jerry-rigged resolution that leaves gaping holes and perpetuates systemic abuses. Congress along with caregivers, industry leaders and the President, in partnership with the public, must look to transform the healing field.

And just when it appears that legislative efforts to hatch a health-care miracle have been stymied, the faith is that wiser heads will prevail. Although the debate has been bogged down in innuendo and littered by political spin, we can only pray that absence will truly make the heart grow fonder. That is, elected persons during this time-out will realize the burden of leadership, which is the promise of leadership, to use influence to forge a path not formerly seen as doable.

By Chris T. Pernell  |  July 29, 2009; 2:08 AM ET  | Category:  Health Care Reform , Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Chris, enjoyed your outstanding article. As you know in matters of grave importance the heavy lifting is done from above. The political posturing we see will continue but "He" will determine "what and when" change will occur.

Posted by: educk3 | August 1, 2009 2:25 PM
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