Health care reality show doomed — by reality

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

I should write about the Senate health care bill. I really should. The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 is relevant, as it could significantly impact the long-term care profession. It's happening now, which is as timely as it gets. It's entertaining, like professional wrestling. And it's exciting, because we have no idea how it ends.

It's basically a good, old-fashioned reality show, in the tradition of “Survivor” or “The Bachelor.” The problem is it includes the only element we really don't want in our reality shows — reality. As viewers since its release, we've have been forced to think about those it might affect as actual people named “Betty” or “Dad,” rather than a faceless, theoretical cohort, which is why this poorly conceived show could be headed for a quick cancellation.

Even writing about the bill is dangerous, as it's such a charged topic in this polarized political environment. Over nearly 150 columns and blogs for McKnight's, I've received my share of passionate responses on a wide range of seemingly innocent topics — from elephants to Daylight Saving Time. Even when I wrote about a squirrel on a deadly rampage, one of his angry family members showed up at my house. Clearly, I have to tread very carefully on this one.

So let me just say that this is an important debate, and the topic is extremely complicated. Those of you who support the proposed legislation are dear, sweet people, as are those of you who don't. Whether it's passed or not, it will affect our profession and the people we serve in this way or that, and I'm certainly not suggesting either one is wrong. Or right. They both could be. Or neither. What's important is that we all agree the bill exists.

Oh dear. Now I've said too much. Time to start avoiding the comment threads again.

Actually, there's one thing about the Senate bill for which we can all be grateful — that its name includes the word Reconciliation. Beyond all reasonable doubt, this proves our nation's lawmakers are finally coming together in an act of mutual healing and embrace. As the great 13th century mystic Rumi once wrote in his famous poem about forgiveness, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field — where people without health insurance can lie down and patiently and cheerfully wait for the sweet hand of death. I'll meet you there.”  

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.


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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.