Cutting the Gordian Knot
A Patient-Centered, Fiscally Responsible Plan for Healthcare Reform
The story of the Gordian Knot holds a key concept needed to solve America’s healthcare dilemma:
According to mythology, an oracle of ancient Phrygia decreed the next man to enter its capital driving an ox-cart should be crowned king. The peasant farmer Gordias received the honor. In gratitude, Gordias tied his ox-cart to a post as a gift to the Phrygian gods. However, he used a knot of such complexity no one could undo its threads.
The knot of Gordias defied a solution until Alexander the Great took up the challenge. Instead of attempting to unravel the intractable knot, Alexander simply drew his sword and cut through it with one bold stroke. This novel approach, known as the Alexandrian Solution, reduced a complex problem to a simple one. Rather than letting the knot’s complexity overwhelm him, Alexander reframed the problem to craft a solution.
The same holds true when approaching the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The complexities of the 2,700 pages of legislation cannot be untangled. Even as construction of the Gordian Knot made it impossible to untie, the philosophy underlying the PPACA excludes the possibility of fiscally responsible, patient-centered healthcare. We must completely repeal the legislation and start afresh.