Sunday, August 16, 2015

Who Deserves Quality Medical Care?

We all should know the difference between a slogan and real substance.   One of these has size and shape while the other is just a shadow.   Why then, is the slogan so powerful?

A slogan is one of the weapons wielded by the Guardians of Political Correctness.  They will point toward the slogan du jour, and then, with cameras rolling, demand to know if you support it.  Even a moment’s hesitancy will be taken as weakness.   Expect to see your waffling go viral for all to see, edited down and sans context. 

Politicians Advised to Avoid Waffles.

During a presidential election, this practice is omnipresent. 

Mr. Bush, do you support fair trade?
Mrs. Clinton, is your immigration policy to give amnesty to all illegal aliens?
Mr. Cruz, do you believe in the rule of law?

These questions cannot be adequately answered with a reflexive yes or no.   The slogans contained within these 'gotcha' questions point to complex and nuanced issues that need layered responses.  Of course, if a politician were to begin his response with, ‘Yes, but…’, he will be tossed aside as a spineless waffler.  

I hear the slogan ‘equal pay for equal work’ bandied about.  If a reporter shoved a microphone in your face and demanded to know if you support this slogan, would you scream ‘Yes!’ while you pumped your fist in the air for emphasis?   After all, who could oppose equal pay for equal work?  Shouldn't a man or woman receive the same wages for the same job?

Try this example.  A new teacher who has just completed his training becomes a 3rd grade teacher.  He is qualified and brings youthful enthusiasm into the classroom.  His colleague across the hall, has been teaching 3rd grade for 15 years.  This teacher is a seasoned professional whose students benefit from a career of experience during which she has honed her craft to higher level of performance.  Both are 3rd grade teachers.  Should each be paid the same salary?   I don't think so.  Does this mean that I do not  support equal pay for equal work?

Slogans are rife in the medical world.  How often do we read or hear about ‘quality health care’?  Not a day passes that I don't confront this slogan.  It’s an empty phrase that masquerades as something real.  It’s a phantom, a cloud, a ghost.  It falls apart if you try to hold it.  

I think every American deserves quality health care from quality physicians who prescribe quality medications dispensed by quality pharmacists purchased by quality patients.

My point?  Try to define quality medicine.  It’s not as easy as it seems.  Could you do it as a quality reporter with a mic and a camera demands a quality definition in 5 seconds?

Context anyone?

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