IPAB for Muppets: Would bureaucrats dictate Big Bird’s options if he got bird flu?

In the first Presidential debate held October 3, 2012, Mitt Romney raised to the public consciousness the idea that, while he likes Sesame Street, it might be worth cutting the show (via cutting overall PBS funding) to balance the federal budget. More than any other issue on the table, this particular one begs the question: in a presidential debate where the candidates seemed to agree on more than they disagree, What Would the Muppets Do (WWMD?) and how does this critical swing vote impact the outcome of the election?

In exclusive coverage of the Muppet debrief of the debate, moderated by balcony-dwelling Jim Lehrer-look-alike commentators Statler and Waldorf, it became clear that the key issue for this voting segment is MuppetCare and how this program will impact the significant population of middle class puppets who we have come to know and love. A brief summary of the concerns overheard in this discussion:

    • Would the IPAB (Independent Puppet Advisory Board) dictate Big Bird’s options if he contracted bird flu?
    • Will attempts to address the national obesity crisis lead to a limit on cookie size, a la New York City’s soda size regulations, thus limiting Cookie Monster’s personal freedoms?

    • Is being green a pre-existing condition and, if so, will color therapy be a covered service if frogs do not have continuous coverage?

    • Will plans available through the insurance exchanges be limited to metallic colors, like bronze and platinum, or will primary colors more familiar to Muppets be offered?

    • Elmo has a question: if Elmo is perpetually 3 ½ years old, will Elmo be permanently covered under Elmo’s parent’s plan?

    • Are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s “Insta-Grow” pills subject to the pharmaceutical excise tax?

    • With all the talk of taking care of the middle class, how will those who live in garbage cans access care and will lifetime limits on trash accumulation be effected?
    • Will MuppetCare benefits be extended to different species marriages (e.g., frog and pig) or be limited only to same sex marriage partners (Ernie and Bert)?
  • In their wrap-up of the debate, the commentators were heard to say:

    Statler: Hey you old fool, you slept through the show!
    Waldorf: Who’s the fool? You watched it!

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    Lisa Suennen
    Lisa Suennen

    Lisa Suennen

    Lisa Suennen is Managing Partner at Venture Valkyrie Consulting, which provides advisory services to venture capital firms and healthcare companies. Lisa was previously a founding partner at Psilos Group, a healthcare venture capital firm. Prior to that she was a successful healthcare entrepreneur. Lisa is a Board Member of Beyond Lucid Technologies and Pokitdok and the Dignity Health Foundation. She is on the advisory boards of Qualcomm Life, CHCF Innovation Fund, Accelevate, Inc., Health XL, and Sanofi’s Integrated Care Group. Lisa teaches healthcare venture capital at the U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business. Lisa healthcare investing blog can be found at More posts by Author

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