Since I established BrokenHealthcare.org, a good friend has asked me, on a number of occasions, if I’m just an angry guy trying to help people get out of paying their medical bills. The person asking wasn’t serious, but she was trying to understand the end game. “What are you really trying to achieve?” she asked over and over again. The question is not insignificant. As the CEO of a global management consulting firm with a substantial strategy practice (that includes healthcare clients), I can tell you that understanding the end-game is of paramount importance. Our end-game is wholesale change. We want to see the US healthcare system transformed into one that is fair, transparent, priced reasonably and one that provides the best healthcare the nation has to offer to all or our citizens. Clearly we have a long way to go. And that’s where anger can be quite helpful.
Strategy is about developing a plan to achieve an end game. And right now, at BrokenHealthcare.org, we are just in the first phase (or first inning, or quarter, if you prefer a sports analogy). It was Ben Franklin who once proclaimed,
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
Right now, I am, personally, relatively unaffected by the debacle that has become our healthcare system; but I’ve been studying it long enough to become really angry at its inequities, its hidden and spiraling costs and its secret, back-room pricing deals. Recently, I’ve been sharing a book with friends: American Sickness, by Elizabeth Rosenthal, and one-by-one, as those friends read it, they too, are becoming angry—very angry.
So Where are We Going With This…
BrokenHealthcare.org is committed to changing the American healthcare system, but given the dysfunctional state of our current political system, it becomes ever more clear every day that Ben Franklin was right. Nothing will change until a critical mass of Americans become truly angry.
That’s why, right now…today…my goal is to educate and stoke anger, and to turn some of that anger into pressure on the institutions that perpetuate one of the most fundamental problems of healthcare: a gross lack of transparency in medical billing practices. This is a problem that, if not solved, will prove to be a barrier to any and all future improvements.
So we will keep talking about the most frightening facets of the system. And we will keep putting pressure on institutional billing by helping patients deny payment, one bill at a time. A great deal of pressure targeted to one area, plus a great deal of anger to force system change, is a first inning tactic that, I hope, will help us win the game.