I was relieved last week to find out that a Senate bill called “Better Health Reconciliation Act” had failed to gain traction. I can now spend my time on something better. It is always important to be clear about the problem before you try to find the solution. In decision theory, that process is called framing. Imagine for a moment a picture frame. You can only see what is inside the borders. The theory says maybe you made the frame too small.
The example I shared with my grad students was imagine that your car is not in good shape. You are faced with a need for transportation and conclude you need a new car. You committed to buying one. You will probably need a loan which stretches your budget. You ruled out other choices which might have been cheaper.
Consider two “frames”;
The new car ties up a lot of cash, including deposits and a loan. The other options have some potential to be cheaper and get you the same result. You need to evaluate them all.
Let’s frame the health challenge in America. What are the end goals?
- A healthier nation
- Less of our budgets are dedicated to sickness
- All people have access to care: prevention and treatment
- Mental, physical, dental, and long-term needs are covered
- We continue to innovate
- We have a care system which is financially stable
- We have effective strategies to pay for care
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not perfect, but it did take steps to get us closer to some of these goals. It is a complex problem to sort out this large system, and to frame the next step. I remain hopeful that we will continue in the spirit of pioneering which created the ACA. In the meantime, we can do something.
What are we doing at KenCrest? We just launched a pilot of My25, nutrition support software and tool set to promote healthy eating, the number one challenge in the US. We will try this in ten of our homes.
Coming soon, we have also asked for a proposal for new healthy living initiatives for our staff.
It will take more than just Congress to help America control spending and to create a healthier nation. It will take all of us. We need to be socially responsible. We need to do our part in the economics of health care. We need innovation. We will not wait for someone else to tell us what to do. We will pioneer.