Springing Forward, in More Ways Than One?

MB Lewis

MB Lewis

I watched  students line up in the snow for airport shuttles 2 weeks ago. Now they’re back from break, looking tanned and enjoying  warm days. The snow has melted from all but the north sides of buildings, and 50-plus degrees feels great.  Joggers are out in shirtsleeves,  and fresh green shoots are poking out of the mud. People are like tulips here in Michigan: ready to bloom after winter! A friend said the other day: “How can anyone who lives in a warm climate truly appreciate spring?”

trillium flower

Find trillium and other spring wildflowers starting to peek up at UM's Nichols Arboretum, basically SPH's back yard!

We feel like we own this time of year. The clocks will jump ahead an hour this Sunday, and graduation is generating true excitement  (sure helps being able to look forward to hearing new CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden give his first commencement address at SPH’s ceremony on April  29, and then President Obama  at UM on May 1). Meanwhile, I’m eager for the mud to ease up so I can start taking spring walks at lunch in the Arb.  Its location less than a block from SPH is a blessing. Later in spring, the peony garden will bloom there in Ann Arbor’s second-most-famous football-field size patch of turf.

Another possible rebirth to celebrate: U.S. health care reform may be gasping another gulp of air.  Obama is rallying, and the media pen seems momentarily frozen  as it hovers above a death certificate. Even the establishment New York Times Economix-ists are saying: “…the plan would make progress in all sorts of areas. Insurance exchanges would create more competition. A Medicare oversight board would gain authority over reimbursement rates. Hospitals that committed certain medical errors — harmful, costly errors — would face financial penalties.”

No one I know thinks it’s a perfect bill that may be headed for reconciliation. But we can’t stand still and say just keep things just the way they are, because the situation will get worse: costs will continue to spiral upward in unchecked mania. I hope even public-option devotees will agree that the perfect cannot be the enemy of the good on something this important.

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