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A Nobel Prize for Repositioning Health Care

Posted on | May 27, 2008 | No Comments

Doing a “Gore�? on our health system

If there was a Nobel Prize for “repositioning,” I’d give it to Al Gore — even though he’s already won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Why? Because, beyond his passion for the issue of global warming, and his dogged pursuit of the facts and unique ways of communicating those facts, Gore’s true brilliance has been in knowing he would get nowhere unless he repositioned the issue.

And re-positioned it, he has. Gore has helped make global warming a mainstream issue. He did this by positioning it simultaneously as a health issue, a transportation issue, a human disaster and climate issue, an agricultural and food issue, and a global development issue.

As soon as it became our issue, human beings — being who they are — began to wonder what each of us could do. Most focused on their homes, and found that there is actually quite a lot an average individual or family can do to address global warming – ranging from switching to energy efficient light bulbs to updating heating and air conditioning systems.

We’ve got a long way to go. An ABC News poll of 1,004 Americans in 2007 said that 94% were ready to adjust their daily lives, but only 31% admitted to making much of an effort. Still, it’s clear we are at least becoming more aware of the problem – 71 percent of Americans now believe our own human activity has created global warming and our current climate mess.

Looking at the fast changes in our attitudes towards global warming, mainly triggered by one aggressive leader, coming off of a demoralizing defeat in a highly contested Presidential Election in 2000, one has to wonder what would happen if a leader of similar skills and fortitude took on the transformation of our U.S. Health care System. Who might be the Al Gore of health care? One who could galvanize our nation in support of a 180-degree turn toward the creation of universal preventive health care for all Americans? Wouldn’t that person rightly deserve the first Nobel Prize for Repositioning?

To learn more – including more detailed statistics and analysis about our attitudes toward global warming, please watch this week’s video, embedded with this blog post. Then share your own thoughts on whether Al Gore’s approach could yield similar results for health care.

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