Price Is Right’s lesson for the Obamacare debate

It is 12:01am EST on October 1, 2013. This is a day of mourning. The government is indefinitely out to lunch. It is time to acknowledge the “Cliff hanger” risks. As I am writing this, the hatchet has gone down. Please start the funeral dirge.


Obamacare is in danger once again. More families will struggle from government stoppages. Obamacare has more lives than a cat. Defunding Obamacare and delaying private health insurance exchanges are risks that we should not take only later see the error of our ways. But there is an undisclosed system on the Congressional game show of who can “come on down”. Throwing money at a creepy Uncle Sam that did not pass his medical boards should not silence the throngs of citizens calling for the moral imperative to protect the nation’s health.


On The Price is Right,  there are contestants in T shirts embossed with phrases such as “I spayed Muffin for Betty White” vying for hot tub and dinette sets. The show is based on the fascination of the possibility of success, not its realization of success. Each guess in the Cliff Hanger game has a one-dimensional yodeler in front of cardboard Alps moving precariously towards the cliff and his impending doom.

But what is unique to The Price is Right is that the contestant often calls upon the help of the audience for help. But he does not have to listen. Each studio audience member at the Price Is Right works their uvulas in a frenzy to be picked and give contestants’ help. Please listen to me then you can decide what you will do! That goes for you too, Congress.


According to a 2013 survey performed by Rassumen Reports, only 8% of those surveyed reported that his legislator “listened to him most”. In 2013, Rebekah Herrick wrote in a timely article published in State Politics and Policy Quarterly that often agreement between constituents’ desires and the legislator’s outcomes is defined as the pinnacle of policy success. Absolute agreement among constituents will never happen in the purest sense. However, Herrick said that legislators must constantly reassess the opinions of their publics to inform their legislative decisions. Listen before the guy in Lederhosen or that latest Obamacare initiative goes over the cliff.


There is that adage, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Leaving millions of Americans uninsured and sick is a past warranting an encore? In this healthcare debate, we have to do more than just remember the decisions affecting public health problems and the health victories (which do certainly exist).But a holding pattern based on political ideology does not progress make.


Fixing a healthcare “system” requires more than a falsely disjointed approach to its separate elements. Sure, the healthcare decisions are far more complicated than arriving at a price of that Belgian waffle maker. We cannot afford to fall miserably off the “cliff”. We have been doing too much of that lately. The ideological rigidness and that pouting in the corner until your face is blue are not working. We have more than a hot tub at stake.


NOTE: This is a Reworking of “Making sense of healthcare systems using sensemaking and the Price is Right” (Orgcomplexity Blog August 30, 2013).


About Michele Battle-Fisher

This is an archive of the Orgcomplexity Blog. Please follow me at the following sites: Michele Battle-Fisher (Facebook author page) mbattlefisher (Twitter) michele.battle.fisher (Skype) Author Website

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