Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mr. Rogers Does Health Care Reform

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood
A beautiful day for a neighbor
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Good morning boys and girls. It's so nice to see you again. Yesterday, I enjoyed our show where we learned about a new term called "conflicts of interest" that doctors always seem to have with companies that fund their research. Can you say "conflicts of interest?" Why, that's a very big-boy-and-girl thing to say, isn't it?

(He hangs his coat in a closet, puts on a cardigan zipper sweater, and removes his dress shoes to put on sneakers, all the while smiling)

Well, on today's show, we're going to meet our friends who are helping us with health care reform. (stops, pauses) Can you say "Health Care Reform?" Sure. Health - Care - Reform. So let's head over to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe today and see what's happening. Mr. Conductor, can you take us there?

(Camera zooms to a small red electric trolley and follows it through a tunnel... *Ding ding* *ding ding*) The scene magically transforms to world like none other, where birds are chirping and the sun always shines: the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.)

Look who's here! Why it's Mr. McFeely! My, you looks like you've been busy! What are all those letters you're delivering there?

Hi, Mr. Rogers! Why, there's a big meeting going on now to help make health care here in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Gosh, Mr. McFeely. That bag looks so heavy. Why so many letters? Can I help carry it? Are there so many letters because they need more money?

Oh, no, Mr. Rogers! Everyone knows pay-to-play only happens in Illinois. That would never happen here in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. We just want to get everyone's input so we can involve all the stakeholders in the health care reform debate. That way, we know we'll find the right solution and no one will complain about the new plan. Isn't it exciting! But the organizers have to act fast. Grandpere is sick and they want to make sure they get a solution hammered out right away so he'll be able to get coverage if he needs it.

Goodness, Mr. McFeely! I understand. That sounds very important. I was wondering if you could help me. I'm looking for conflict of interests here in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Sure! Maybe King Friday XIII would know where to find them. Perhaps I could take you to his castle?

Gee, Mr. McFeely, that would be swell!

(camera cuts to a castle where King Friday XIII is meeting with Queen Sara Saturday, Prince Tuesday, Lady Elaine Fairchild, and Daniel Striped Tiger are speaking in hushed tones. King Friday XIII sees them approach.)

Mr. Rogers, I presume?

Correct as always, Your Majesty, King Friday.

What brings you to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe? Can't you see we're very busy?

I'm sorry King, but I'm looking for conflicts of interest.

Here in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe we make sure we are all as pure as the driven snow. After all, we are concerned about the needs of everyone in our neighborhood. That's why we're meeting with everyone in town hall meetings and at Health Care Summits. People need health care and they need it now!

Yes, good King. I know Dr. Frogg would want to be a health care helper, too. Is he here?

Dr. Frogg and Nurse Nelly have been too busy to come, poor guys. Something about "pay-for-performance" and needing to buy a computer for something called "e-prescribing." Anyway, we'll be sure to let Dr. Frogg know what we decide.

So King Friday, you've not seen any conflicts of interest?

No, not here in my kingdom!

And Queen Sara Saturday, have you seen any conflicts of interest?

I don't think so, Mr. Rogers. But I really haven't been looking. After all, we've got other very important tasks in front of us. Like deploying electronic medical records and making sure everyone has access to pharmacies!

Prince Tuesday, have you seen any conflicts of interest here in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe?

No sireeee.

And Daniel Striped Tiger, you have seen any either have you?

Nope. I wouldn't know what one was, Mr. Rogers.

(Turning to Mr. McFeely)

Gosh, Mr. McFeely, what a busy day! Let's go back now. It seems the only conflicts I have found have been with the doctors working with the drug and medical device companies. So, I guess our search is finished. Thanks everyone!

It's such a good feeling to know you're alive.
It's such a happy feeling
You're growing inside.
And when you wake up ready to say
I think I'll make a snappy new day
It's such a good feeling....


Lea- bladder infection said...

This is a very interesting and entertaining post. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Could this be the first sign of rationing.....

Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...


It's true docs are the easy target, but by and large the smallest conflict in terms of dollars I am sure. For years no we docs are really just pawns in the game of healthcare - in the frontline and easily sacrificed to protect the real powers in the game. Unfortunately, thee pawns are protecting both sides of the board - the patients as well as the powers behind the dollars.


PS - I used to love Mr Rogers. (Will you be - my neighbor?)

DrWes said...

Anony 09:15 PM -

Sheesh! I hope not.

james gaulte said...

Another great entry.