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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

From Our CEO

December 5, 2012

Problems for the Ages, Solutions for Today

This week, CHI will host a three-day health policy briefing for state legislators, executive branch leaders and policy makers. The goal is to bring thoughtful, evidence-based information, research and analysis to current health policy discussions. It’s a big goal and we here at CHI have been working over the past year to bring to light and assemble relevant research and analysis to present over the course of the next few days.

In preparation for our conference, I have been reading James O’Toole’s thoughtful book, “The Executive’s Compass: Business and the Good Society.” While O’Toole writes in an accessible, easy to understand manner, the ideas are anything but. What surfaces most for me is that our current policy debates are a manifestation of age-old philosophical arguments.

When we discuss the possibility of expanding public insurance and the role of personal responsibility, we hold in tension the ideas of liberty (freedom to choose if you want to purchase insurance) and equal responsibility (that we should all have insurance and in doing so protect ourselves from accidents and other adverse events). 

When we discuss how to control costs in health care delivery, we hold in tension whether the market or the government (through regulatory action) comes up with the best, most effective solutions.

These dynamics, between community and efficiency and between liberty and equal responsibility are steeped in thousands of years of philosophical debate. It doesn’t make finding answers any easier, for sure. But to know that from Artistotle through John Locke and Adam Smith to Martin Luther King Jr., these tensions have been on our minds, grounds us in a greater context.

Let’s hear the debate and reason with each other. Through this process, we will as Coloradans, find our generation’s solutions to problems of the ages.