One year ends, another begins. The wheel of history turns and a new opportunity presents itself. I have never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, for I prefer specific plans over wishful expectations. But planning for a whole year can be a formidable task–so much so that many consider it futile and do not even bother. Others get discouraged after a few months and drift away from whatever plan they adopted.
But planning is important for those who want to live an intentional life and business career. The best advice I ever received regarding planning maintained that when you have a big job to perform, break it up into small increments, prioritize them, and then attack them in order, one at a time. Too often, facing the job in its totality becomes overwhelming and leads to confusion and failure.
When prioritizing objectives, some cannot be accomplished early on. Set a time when they can be tackled and don’t worry about them until the appropriate time arrives–budgetary requirements being an example. If you don’t have the funds necessary for a project, then obviously it has to be delayed until they are available.
As I thought about this simple process I wondered why the powers that be in Washington do not follow this kind of procedure. The current debate on health care reform seems to me to be a prime example of where these principles could be useful.
Health care in our country consumes one-sixth of our economy so there is no question that it constitutes a really big job. One should start with the proposition that there is more that is right about the present system than is wrong. No one denies that there is room for improvement and that 10% or 20% of the population is not being properly served. Would it not make more sense to identify the problem areas and break them out into separate pieces, prioritize them and solve them individually? My guess is such an approach would very likely gain the kind of bipartisan support an issue of this magnitude deserves.
As I have listened to the debate about health care, both in the public arena and by lawmakers, the major problems that could be separated out and dealt with individually are as follows.
Number one is the ever-rising cost that is squeezing the wallets of individuals and raising employers’ cost of doing business. It seems appropriate to just acknowledge that if you have what many believe is the best health care system in the world it will naturally cost more. We should not be trying to achieve cost levels of other countries who deliver less.