Jenga, A New Analogy for Healthcare Reform – Healthcare

This isn’t the government we are watching, it’s junior high school…. We’re governed by self-absorbed, reckless children…. The budget war reflects inanity, incompetence and cowardice that are sadly inexplicable.Nicholas KristoffIn the late 1980’s the board game Jenga was popular. A tower was built out of wooden shapes, and the players attempted to remove pieces one by one until the building collapsed. Like all structures that fail, the final transition was rapid and catastrophic(non-linear system). Although I saw people try, one does not have time to replace the last piece before the blocks fall to the ground. The game of Jenga is a good analogy for the game our political leaders are playing with our healthcare system, and the final result may well be similar.President Obama, the politicians, and many “reformers” are deeply ignorant about the structure of the healthcare system. They have extensive experience dealing with funding for schools, social security and to the military, and view the healthcare system in a similar light. They consider these programs as well behaved, linear systems, like a glass filled with water, removing some water will lower the level, but not break the glass. One can always put a few more students in a classroom, lower monthly payments, or hold war games with fewer tanks.The unfortunate reality is that our healthcare system is more like a Jenga tower than a water glass. Multiple components are haphazardly strung together in a seemingly random, but mutually reinforcing structure. Hospitals, drug companies, physicians, and support personnel are joined by an incredibly complex nexus of funding supplied by federal, state and local governments, as well as insurance companies and private individuals. Each component of the this structure is mutually dependent upon every other part of the system. As fragmented and dysfunctional as it is, the healthcare system is still vital to the 300 million Americans that use it.A combination of greedy corporations, clueless politicians, and politically motivated “reformers” has relentlessly been withdrawing money from this system. Like players in a Jenga game, every piece that gets removed weakens every other part of the structure. These deluded people in charge think they will always have time to put pieces back before any collapse, or at least before the next election. Sadly, they are mistaken. Like a building collapsing, an airplane falling out of the sky, or a ponzi scheme unraveling, the crash will be swift, destructive, and very deadly.