A National Conversation
The last time an administration tried to fundamentally change health care policy in this country they gathered a group of very bight people, spent months is closed-door conversations, produced a well-reasoned plan, and then tried to sell it to Congress, the health care industry, health care professionals, and the American people. It failed.
Pushing down a plan crafted at the top will suffer the same fate this time around. That much is guaranteed. And while there is no assurance that a more collaborative approach will succeed, the president and his team need to heed what Mr. Obama knows very well from his days as a community organizer. The parties who are affected by the change will be more supportive if they are involved in planning the change. It won't be easy, but it's the most viable option.
Before there can be any agreement on the means there has to be an agreement on the ends. Shared values and shared vision are the foundations for building productive, lasting, and genuine change. Before sound policies can be negotiated, leaders must first gain consensus on a common set of principles that will inform decisions and actions. President Obama has begun the dialogue with his articulation of the eight principles for transforming health care that are written into the 2010 budget. These principles now offer guidance to everyone involved and should become the focus of the conversation.
If the Obama administration and Congress leap too soon into writing prescriptions to cure the health care system ills, they are highly likely to end up in bitter battles over whose medicine is more efficacious without first coming to agreement over why we are taking the medicine in the first place.
Policy makers need to engage with each other and with the American people in a deep, open, and honest dialogue about what most matters to us. Our research on organizational values clearly indicates that gaining consensus on shared values makes a significant positive difference in attitudes and performance. Dissonance over values, however, results in conflict, false expectations, diminished capacity, and high degrees of stress. If we are going to make any progress as a nation on curing the ills of the health care system, we first must find that common ground on which any new system will be built.
Posted by: DOps | March 4, 2009 11:03 AM
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