Mark Trahant: Transparency in health care reform bill
"Perhaps one reason why the massive health care reform legislation is in so much trouble is that few people understand the details. The bill is massive, complicated, packed with official government jargon and so many specifics were kicked forward to regulators at some future point (such as figuring out the real Medicare cost reductions or definitions of basic terms such as “quality”). On top of that, there was confusion about the nuts and bolts of what program was in, and what was out. Essentially it was a secret process, except when there were leaks over specific proposals.

The bill followed the time-honored way of legislating. A senator says, “yes” after the bill is sweetened. Then another senator is wooed. And another until a super majority is found and the bill itself is hardly identifiable. Political horse-trading is one of the reasons people are angry about health care reform (as well – and this is important – a genuine debate about the role of government). It looks unfair and unseemly.

But does it have to be that way in the 21st century? Can legislation or policy be forged in an open and transparent manner? This won’t resolve the debate about philosophy, but at least it allows people to have a say all through the process.

I think this is the way forward – and I’d like to see Congress, the Executive Branch and the Indian Health Service all have clear Social Media strategies that harness the power of an individual to help shape a larger mission."

Get the Story:
The new currency: Transparency (Mark Trahant 1/25)

Related Stories:
Mark Trahant: Starting over on Indian health reform bill (1/20)
Mark Trahant: IHS Director Roubideaux on passing IHCIA (1/18)
Mark Trahant: Business model for Indian Health Service (1/12)
Mark Trahant: Some resoluting on Indian tobacco use (1/6)
Mark Trahant: IHCIA now a part of Senate health bill (12/21)
Mark Trahant: Projects improve Indian health care (12/14)
Mark Trahant: Work together for health care reform (12/8)
Mark Trahant: Health care system tied to economy (12/7)
Mark Trahant: Health reform bill tests democracy (11/30)
Mark Trahant: Health reform boosts Indian Country (11/23)
Mark Trahant: Health care reform dead in Senate (11/17)
Mark Trahant: New Republican 'interest' in IHCIA (11/2)
Rep.Hastings objects to IHCIA in health reform bill (10/30)
Mark Trahant: Send Medicaid funds right to IHS (10/29)
Mark Trahant: Health care debate drags on and... (10/26)
Mark Trahant: Guaranteed rights to health care (10/19)
Mark Trahant: Health care debate not over (10/12)
Mark Trahant: Effortless Indian Country care (10/5)
Mark Trahant: Tribal provisions in health reform (9/28)
Mark Trahant: Taxation of tribal health benefits (9/21)
Mark Trahant: Indian Health Service paradox (9/17)
Mark Trahant: Indian exemption and insurance (9/16)
Mark Trahant: Revive the public health hospital (9/14)
Mark Trahant: Grandma and health care reform (9/9)
Mark Trahant: Ted Kennedy steps aside for health (8/31)
Mark Trahant: Tribes, IHS and health coverage (8/25)
Mark Trahant: Ideas for health care reform (8/17)
Mark Trahant: Duality in Indian health care (8/10)
Mark Trahant: Health care from a different view (8/4)
Mark Trahant: Indian businesses and health care (7/28)
Mark Trahant: First Americans are last in health (7/21)
Mark Trahant: Getting into Indian health reform (7/14)
Mark Trahant: Lessons from Indian Country health (7/10)
Mark Trahant: IHS isn't broken, just underfunded (7/9)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care at the local level (7/8)