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Fighting Our Healthcare Woes – A Bipartisan Consensus is Needed

In a predominately two-party political system, finding common ground through compromise has been the hallmark approach on making our nation successful, especially when confronted with wars, national tragedies and economic crisis. That is the beauty about our country, we find ways to come together and resolve our differences – at least until the crisis has been conquered or averted.

A few years ago, I remember sitting in a roundtable meeting with other business executives discussing a particular topic about a local company. The situation consisted of a management team, currently at odds with one another, having difficulties coming together to resolve their differences. At the time, the relationships within the team were toxic, and it appeared this ‘cancer’ was rapidly spreading throughout the organization – beyond the team members. Needless to say, the repercussions were not good for the company, its employees or its clients. How could this situation be quickly remedied? There appeared to be no simple answers.

Except one.

A roundtable member somewhat comically blurted out, “What this company needs to do is invent an old-fashioned crisis!” Instinctively, chuckles from other members ensued, including my own bewildered display of astonishment. But after a few minutes of exchanging amusing remedies to serve as a concocted crisis, the roundtable group began to seriously consider the innate truth within that seemingly preposterous comment – a crisis just might be the cure for this organization to pull together.

Healthcare is an Economic Crisis

It is now time to treat our healthcare woes as a ‘crisis,’ an immediate threat to the livelihood of all Americans – regardless of race, age, gender, and yes, party affiliation. Oh sure, in the past, we have heard our elected officials ‘label’ this problem as a crisis. But labeling is quite different than ‘treating’ it as a major threat to our long-term national well-being. Over time, unfettered healthcare costs have become the outside intruder (or invader) that can single-handedly change our lives with dire consequences, not only for our generation, but for generations that follow. Unlike the roundtable crisis discussed, this crisis does not need to be invented because it is REAL.

Let’s give our healthcare crisis some due respect. It is a uniquely American problem that requires solutions from both parties – not just one. As Republican Gov. John Kasich recently stated on ‘Meet The Press‘, “When you jam something through, just one party over another, it’s not sustainable…We’re talking about lives…We better be careful we’re not losing the soul of our country because we’re playing politics.”

As Republicans take their turn to overhaul almost one-fifth of the U.S. economy for the sake of ‘delivering on their campaign promises,’ they would be well-served – as would all Americans – to find common ground with Democrats. It’s time to break the cycle of each party assuming their approach is the only approach. To date, neither party has proven it has cornered the market of demonstrating brilliance on any given subject. It is extremely dangerous to assume that one party can unilaterally fix an extremely complex problem. Republicans cannot, nor can Democrats. Together, however, we have a fighting chance for a more favorable outcome.

One quote that I often use comes to mind here. Vaclav Havel, a Czechoslovakia writer, philosopher, political dissident and former president of Czechoslovakia, once wrote: “Keep the company of those who seek the truth – run from those who have found it.”

With our current healthcare crisis, we can always use more seekers than those who pretend to have all the answers. It is now time to find common ground.

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