03/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Twitterers: Start Your Tweeters!


People on twitter are the ones who should tweet about healthcare. The reason is clear but not obvious.

Curing healthcare, rather than making nice sound bytes about "fixing" it, will take lots of time and effort. First we need to talk about why things are wrong, not just what is wrong: we need to understand causes not just symptoms. Then we need to develop a consensus. (Twitter is an excellent venue to enable this.) Then we need to agree publicly on guidelines about what we want the new healthcare system to do. Next, we need to create a new system; tests parts in advance, and finally implement.

Obviously, this will take lots of time: years to decades. Doing it any shorter, quicker way will not cure things, just appear to make things better, temporarily.

Those who need a healthcare system that works right NOW expect something much too fast. They do not want to wait because they cannot wait. Their drive for an immediate answer makes them accept patches, temporary fixes, and partial solutions - none of which cure healthcare. Those who need health care right now have great difficulty taking a long-term approach, yet that is exactly what we need if we want a system that works.

Instead of passing Medicare in 1965, if we had done then what is suggested above, we wouldn't be in this mess now. The need for a sustainable solution for healthcare remains unfulfilled.

Who CAN take a long-term view? I believe the answer is the twitter demographic. Twitterers [is this really a word?] are more likely younger, healthier and less likely to demand an instant fix to our healthcare nightmare. Unfortunately, these same people -- you and me -- tend to pay attention only to the squeaky wheel of the wagon we are on. Like most people, we tend to ignore the burning platform that we are not standing on. If the platform we are on is not ablaze, we smile, think there but for the grace of God go I, and continue with business as usual.

We need to start talking to each other a lot, starting with the reasons for healthcare dysfunction. We need to resist the self-styled experts' simple answers. We need to create a national consensus about what we want healthcare to do, and what we are willing to do to get that. The last is critical. If we think we can have an effective, sustainable healthcare system in which there is no personal responsibility, we need to think again.

Twitterers: start your tweeters!