RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Obama Administration has proposed to cut $330 million in aid to train pediatricians at 56 children's hospitals. At the same time, a Central Virginia group called, Pediatricians Associated to Care for Kids, is proposing a new children's hospital.
There is no challenge to the assumption that we need strong health care for children…and particularly those who have few if any advocates.
The lesson that comes from these two stories is more about public policy. It seems that most high profile budget development is as much about emotion as it is about money. While the biggest federal expenditures -- education, defense, social security, Medicare/Medicaid -- seem to be pushed back in the discussion, the news focuses on a program that is likely to bring an outcry from bipartisan interests, physicians, children's advocates and those generally concerned about healthcare reform.
The focus of budgeting shifts from taxes and debt to children. The federal government does not have a monopoly on this technique. Local school budgets frequently hang out for debate the most sensitive and volatile topics, not necessarily the most expensive ones.
Most of the public's time is spent "saving" $1,000 item while missing the $1 million ones. In the most political environments, this is likely to be calculated.
In budget preparation, I once sent out a request to all of our leaders to share the things that needed to be protected at all costs as well as those that could be cut. I had many suggestions, but interestingly, not one person suggested cutting something under his or her supervision.
Change will come only when we put all of our stuff on the table… not simply the things that make people mad.