‘Get all the liars in one room’

You know things are bad when the antagonism, fear and general malaise surrounding the fight over the U.S. debt ceiling trickles down to casual conversation—with your kids. Granted, my “kid” is 19 but when she voiced concern over our country defaulting on its loan obligations instead of requesting a loan herself for her quarterly eyebrow waxing—well, that raised my own (unwaxed) eyebrows.

We’re all fed up by this summer of grandstanding, scaremongering and a refusal on the part of our elected officials to act like adults. This frustration was expressed yesterday by Mal Mixon, chairman of the board of Invacare, the $1.8-billion-dollar healthcare products company, during its annual Media Day in Cleveland. This successful, politically connected executive has relationships at high levels of government. He can pick up his phone and make things happen.

And yet, “If anyone can figure out what’s going on with this debt limit issue I wish they’d let me know,” Mixon said, as exasperated as the rest of us. “But we’ll know in the next few days and it’s an important milestone for our country. We can only hope that the House, Senate and our president won’t allow it [default] to happen.”

Perhaps Invacare’s vice president of clinical affairs, Joseph Lewarski, said it best during his presentation on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and the myriad interests that must come together in some form of consensus if the “risk-sharing payment model” is to come to pass. It’s about “getting all the liars in one room,” he said, with a grin. “Big bets are being placed on the model.”

Big bets are being placed on our country’s economic future, too. Now if we could only get all the liars in one room….

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