Waiting For Dr Godot

If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it is for free.” – PJ O’Rourke

On the eve of sweeping health reform legislation, it is hard not to notice the glowing skyline in Washington as policymakers ignite their torches, grab their pitch forks and race as a mob toward for-profit stakeholders who many feel have created, perpetuated and benefited from our highly uneven, inflationary and inconsistent system of healthcare in America.

Over a quarter century, I have consulted with and led employers, consumers, hospitals, physician groups, attorneys, pharmacuetical manufacturers and insurers.  My personal epiphany prompting me to become more vocal about America’s need for systemic change did not spark in the middle of an inflammatory contract negotiation with a major hospital or flash during a heated employee meeting as we announced yet another deductible, co-pay and contribution increase.  My burning bush occurred on a gurney in the hallway of British National Health Service (NHS) hospital where I lay for 20 hours deathly ill with pneumococcal pneumonia.

After moving to London with my young family, we decided to opt for public care.  After all, I was curious to experience  the NHS and with three kids under eight, we were constantly under siege with myriad colds, earaches and symptomless fevers.  Best of all, it was free. Our neighborhood NHS family practice clinic was always crowded but convenient.  Other than the occasional drug co-pay, we never received a bill.  Yet, something was not quite right.  My doctor always looked as if wild dogs or the Inland Revenue Service was pursuing him.  I broke down during one examination and asked him how much he received from the National Trust for each patient to provide basic care.  ” Not nearly enough, Mr.  Turpin. Not nearly enough” He said absently while peering into my ear with a pen light.

In the bleak midwinter of our first English February, one of my kids came home with a nasty flu that raged through the house, flattening even my indefatigable wife who I considered indestructible.  I was travelling on the Continent and needed to return early to play Florence Nightingale to the family influenza ward.  As everyone slowly recovered, rising like Lazarus from the dead, I took ill and within one day, was coughing up blood and bedridden with a raging fever.  After a brief visit with my GP, he called an ambulance and I was taken to casualty (Emergency) in a local NHS hospital. I was admitted and deposited on a gurney in a hallway alcove as I waited to be transferred to a hospital room.  There was one problem.  There were no beds available.

The ER was utter chaos with sick elderly and acute care victims in every conceivable location.  The doctors were tireless and clearly dedicated but overwhelmed.  Through the haze of illness, I watched the trauma triage go on for hours.  My wife briefly appeared with the kids to visit.  

As she surveyed the floors strewn with bloody gauze and the frenetic ballet of emergency medicine, she mouthed to me with her little finger near her chin and thumb next to her head,” I will call you later ” and fled the hospital as if it was a haunted house. In my delirium, I could have sworn a giant staph germ escorted her to the door.  “Sorry you could not stay, love.  I am staphoccocolus bacterius.  Don’t worry he’s in good hands. Let’s do lunch.”

Doctors came and went in four-hour shifts.  My principal worry was the harried Casualty staff’s inability to remember that I had a Penicillin allergy.  I repeatedly mentioned my allergy to anyone who would make eye contact with me and twice awoke to catch a well-intentioned new doctor putting me on an amoxicillin drip.

In the early hours of the following morning, I was taken to a room that I shared with seven other of my new closest friends.  There was a poor woman dying of stomach cancer and an attempted suicide.   The bathroom smelled like Grand Central at 6pm and to my horror, there was no TV.  My pulmonologist appeared followed by graduates that shuttled behind him like ducklings crossing a Kent country road.  ” How is the pnuemo” he asked my Filipino nurse ” He is getting better, sir. Aren’t you?” she remarked looking at me. I wasn’t sure if this was a rhetorical question or a new affordability technique in stiff upper lip  British medicine called “self fulfilled prognosis”. 

I was suffering from pleurisy – the equivalent to a burning knife inserted in between your ribs each time you inhale.  I was also very unhappy.  I was in what felt like an overcrowded youth hostel and I wanted some bedside manner.  After all, damn it, I was American.  I wanted the head of pulmonology from the best London hospital to consult with me and give me his mobile and home phone number.  I raised my hand to ask the doctor a question and he flashed a perfunctory smile and said, “right”.  He turned and left the room.

I lay with an oxygen mask for a day drifting.  I awoke and saw the face of a colleague from the office.  It was as if he was a Red Cross worker checking on prisoner conditions per the Geneva Convention. He had lived in London as an ex-pat for five years and was appalled with my circumstances.  ” What are you doing down here? ” He whispered.  I gave him a pathetic look of incredulity and started blinking to him in Hanoi Hilton Morse code “ g-e-t  m-e  o-u-t  o-f  h-e-r-e”. 

He returned and was talking fast, “we have gotten you into private care and we have to transfer you.” He disappeared so quickly that I was uncertain if he had been a hallucination. I awoke again and was being moved.  I expected to be shuttled into an ambulance taken across London to Great Portland Street to a private hospital where most ex-pats delivered babies and accessed private care for routine and elective procedures. 

I was pushed on to an elevator by a Jamaican orderly who said in heavy Brixton accent, ” dis is yah lucky day mate.” The only luck I could fathom at this point was getting a room that did not smell.  The elevator rose up just one floor and opened to a well-lit, beautifully decorated foyer where two eager nurses smiled and gathered around my gurney.  “Mr. Turpin, we are so sorry about your illness and time down there“. Down there?  Even the staff seemed to consider my two-day tour of duty in Casualty as tantamount to one of Dante’s levels of hell.

But it got better. The same aloof pulmonologist who a day early had treated me like a flank steak referring to me as the ‘pnuemo’, grinned and shook my hand.  Mr. Turpin, I am Dr. G. Let me help you to your room.” The Jekyll and Hyde switcheroo was not lost on me.  Apparently, Dr G hit from both sides of the plate – public and private.  Personality and bedside manner came with private care.  My private room had a clean bath, cable television and a phone where I could call and order food.  It was like the Ritz Carlton. 

The doctor sat on my bed and shared my X-rays and described in pedantic detail my serious brush with death.  It was as if he had all the time in the world.  “You are over the worst of it but the inflammation and scarring will last quite a while. Once you are released, you can see me Tuesday next privately or in three weeks through the NHS.”

I was released the next day and chose to see Dr G privately for all my follow up care.  I was in constant pain from the pleurisy and the reassuring ability to access my doctor when I needed to see him was worth the significant out of pocket expense.  I was paying for the fast pass privilege of his time and attention.  My bill for the entire episode of private care delivery was well over $2000. I saw no bill for my 48 hours in Casualty.

It was interesting to reflect later on my experience. On one hand, the NHS triaged my condition, treated meet and summarily moved me out quickly to convalesce at home. If value is outcomes divided by cost, the NHS produced the most value. 

Yet, when I introduced my own subjective expectations as a consumer – hospital conditions, bedside manner, access to specialists and information, all subjective intangibles that Americans insist are essential elements to the numerator of outcomes, one might give the NHS barely a passing grade. 

As we watch Congress debate in the weeks and months ahead the future of our healthcare system, I worry that not enough of the 180 million privately insured Americans understand the difference between outcomes and access. We cannot possibly understand the downstream effects of some of the changes that are being proposed to our system.  US healthcare is in need of a major overhaul but we need to attack the factors that are driving the cost of care higher. Malpractice, overtreatment, poor lifestyles, reimbursement policies of insurers, major differences in clinical quality of hospitals and doctors and an insatiable consumer demand for immediate and unimpeded access are bloating our system. If one were to judge our identity by our budget, the US is essentially the world’s largest insurer with its own army. 

Swinging the pendulum too far in the opposite direction with national oversight, artificial price controls,  the erosion of private insurance by expanding government sponsored plans to over 44 million uninsured without tackling the underlying causes for rising costs may be more than most Amercians can bear. 
We will in effect be trading a public/private cat’s cradle bureaucracy for a single payer with little effect on true cost drivers.  Anecdotally, we already have a glimpse into what government healthcare might look like with Medicare. Ironically, if you ask most seniors, they would tell you they love Medicare but fear socialized medicine. Go figure! 

Change is in the wind and we will all be required to modify our behavior.  However, we should join the discussion and engage our Congressional representatives in the debate.  If we are not vocal or vigilant, we may wake up one day on that gurney in a hospital wondering what the hell happened to our health care system.

The United States of Europe

The United States of Europe


In heaven, the police are British. The cooks are French. The engineers are German. The administrators are Swiss and the lovers Italian.

In hell, the police are German. The cooks are British. The engineers are Italian. The administrators are French and the lovers Swiss. – Anonymous


As the Obama administration embarks on a domestic and geopolitical change agenda that is redefining America and our role in the free world, critics are warning that America is moving dangerously toward becoming Europe.  However, given that less than 10% of Americans possess passports and have never actually visited Europe, let alone Chicago, it’s interesting that there is such high anxiety about moving closer to a social and economic model that many have never experienced.


Conservatives argue that the US like Europe is setting itself up for dire consequences of more liberal social policies – inflation, economic stagnation, income redistribution and social safety nets that become hammocks for people who chronically refuse to take personal responsibility for anything. The Lefties argue that the last eight years was a drunken orgy benefiting the elite, enabled by the elite and now being cleaned up by people that were not even invited to the party.   Perhaps, they argue, a little bit more egalite might get us on to a better track.


While America is clearly my home and has better cable TV, I have lived abroad and believe the US could learn a thing or two from Europe. The traditional arguments of Europe as a failed welfare state just don’t hold up well as Americans wake up to the aftermath of our own excesses. The nascent European Economic Community was forged out of historically liberal, autonomous countries to better compete with Asian tigers and American bulls.  The result has been nothing short of miraculous and while the seams of the Euro-zone quilt are visible to the naked eye, it is a work of art to be admired.


Just consider the unique benefits of being more European:


In Europe, governments are often formed through the alliance of many political parties.  These coalition governments allow for the existence of multiple interest groups.  In coalition countries, a person can align with Greens, Conservatives, Liberals, Socialists, Agnostics, Fiscal Conservatives, or even start a party for people who have fetishes for string. The down side of coalition governance is perpetual turmoil and in cases such as Italy, some governments have the life span of a housefly.  But hey, at least you can find a party that really represents your views.


Life is healthier across the pond. Refrigerators are smaller forcing you to buy your food fresh and eat smaller portions resulting in fewer overweight people.  Because continental Europeans eat less, they need smaller bathrooms. This is particularly true of the UK where the absence of roughage in the English diet requires the average Brit to use the loo about once a week. The French believe in portion control, which explains why your duck l’orange entree is the size of a postage stamp. Meals are consumed over several hours and spiced with great conversation where sex, religion and politics are as politically correct as driving a hybrid. In Europe, you never eat in your car, standing up or alone at your desk. You sit down with others and stop grazing when you are full. There is not much of a market for bariatric surgery.  XXL is a Roman numeral.


Protecting the environment is a priority and there is recognition that an abused earth will eventually beginning to poison us.  Europeans do not trust genetically altered food or reality TV.  A trans-fat is not a food additive but a Rubenesque cross dresser that hangs out at train stations.


Humility is a sign of social maturity and it is considered dignified to disguise one’s social standing, especially around tax collectors.  In Europe, you tend to move back to the community where you grew up. Multiple generations of families spend Sundays together.  Outdoor cafes spill into piazzas and squares that serve as the heart of every village and town. People eat family style. You can bring your dog into a restaurant and leave your crying baby outside the cafe in a pram. There are no curfews for teens and dinner reservations can be made at midnight. Childcare is provided by live-in in-laws, your employer or by relatives who reside within a ten-mile radius.  Public transportation is outstanding and if you do own a car, it is the size of a phone booth and gets 55mpg.


There are more per capita museums, bicycles, and best of all, nude beaches – although the majority of topless women are 55 year old Germans whose bodies have long since stopped cooperating and who have more facial hair than Fidel Castro. There is one sport – soccer.  It is called ” the beautiful game”. It requires physical stamina, intelligence and the ability to flop to the ground feigning injury.  Most great floppers grew up as younger siblings in large Catholic families and are highly skilled at implicating others for false contact.


You are much freer to be stupid in Europe than the US and society doesn’t have to pay for it.  If you ski off a mountain, get hit while crossing a street, spill hot coffee on yourself or decide to put your motor home on cruise control and then go back to make yourself breakfast because you mistakenly think cruise control is auto-pilot, you are considered a moron and you deserve what you get.  In the US, the same outcomes result in lawsuits galore and liability that inflates the price of everything from lift tickets to lattes. In Europe, there are no victims, only those that have bad luck or make bad choices. In the US, everyone is a victim as long as there are deep pockets and slick plaintiffs attorneys.


The violent crime rate is low because the only guys that have guns in Europe are Russian mobsters and you can smell them coming from a mile away, literally. Property crime is the main problem and there is an old saying in Germany, ” if your car is stolen, it’s probably in Poland”.  Healthcare is free but extremely Spartan. Take a number, lie on this gurney and if you are dying you get to go to the head of the line. If you have good insurance today, you will hate national health.  If you are uninsured, underinsured or a hypochondriac, you’ll love it. Despite the obvious shortcomings of nationalized healthcare, many European countries enjoy higher public health scores than the US – greater longevity and lower infant mortality rates. This is generally due to lifestyle compression where the wealthy do not live ten years longer than the indigent and since everyone has access to care, the median life span increases.  The lower cost of care is due to lifestyles, an emphasis on preventive care, red wine and six weeks of paid vacation.


Everything is collectively bargained.  Even the unions have unions.  The best job in Europe is not CEO but being the head of the employee work’s council.  This tenured power position means you get to review all raises and vote down unfair management systems where your performance might actually be monitored.  If you actually get fired, you are eligible for three years severance and something called ” garden leave ” where you get to plant flowers and listen to opera in your back yard courtesy of your former employer.  Unions are also great for your social life as frequent strikes mean surprise holidays and business savings as airport and transportation actions often mean staying home.


The best part of being European is your name. I would much prefer to be called Michel than Michael.  Michel is a guy who can wear a beret and not look dumb. If I were John, I would prefer Juan. Juan can win a sword fight and can wear tight pants without ripping them in the crotch.  Many European names indicate what kind of person you are.  If you go by the name Vlad, odds are you enjoy impaling things.  Fabio?  Say no more.  The Dutch are very predictable.  A man is either Aad or Ruud.  It is possible to be “odd and rude” at the same time but only if you are from Rotterdam and drunk on corn wine.  As you head north and east, you meet Henriks, Dominiks, Theos, Jorgens, Hans Eriks or Dags – all strong names suggesting a person who could easily hold off a hundred Russians with only a hunting knife.


In the end, America remains a land of unprecedented possibility.  The main lesson here is to not fall prey to the myopic belief that we are the most evolved of all societies.   It is human nature that when contrasting America to others, we notice differences first and often reject alternative ideas for the mere fact that they are different.  Older societies have obvious blemishes but have had more time to evolve and learn. Ultimately history will judge what defines a great society.  It stands to reason that a great society is not just built on a polarized distribution of wealth between very few haves and many have-nots.  However, it is not defined by colorless socialism or suffocating regulation.  Perhaps, the new US and the new Europe might actually find themselves meeting in the middle and in doing so, forging a brave new world model that offers a balanced combination of the best that we can be – – socially, economically, legally, religiously and collectively. 


And, if that happens, I’m getting that beret

Answer The Question

Answer The Question, Please!


In a past life, I briefly served as a senior executive in an industry that was a favorite scratching post for the media.  Having spent over twenty years as a consultant – – writing and speaking on a range of radioactive topics,  I was naturally impervious to media trickery and was put off when my new employer suggested I go through training.  “ I have been doing this for many years.” I mused to the HR rep who was attempting to penetrate my calendar for a four hour session with a media consultant.  “ I really don’t need this.”


My boss called and gently suggested I indulge my management and attend a one on one coaching session.  The day arrived and I was directed to a nondescript office suite in New York where I was sequestered to an equally unimaginative conference room to await my training.  I sat impatiently alternating between my Blackberry and my watch.  I literally was getting out of my chair to return to work when the door burst open.   The room filled with a cacophony of bright lights and noise as a female television reporter rushed in followed by her cameraman with lights blazing and camera filming.


“ Mr Turpin, is it true that you have been CEO during a period of time where your firm was being investigated for irregularities in your operations? “  Before I could even answer, she continued to attack.  “ So when did you stop beating your wife?”

“ What,” I said, “are you serious?”  She went for the jugular, “ I am sure it’s hard to remember many of these things.  But how does it feel to preside over a business that is so indifferent to the needs of the consumers it serves.”  At this point, I began to piece together words but it came out as babbling gibberish .  She thrust the microphone in my face as I stuttered an unconvincing, defensive response that seemed to suggest that I was hiding something – – perhaps weapons of mass destruction or institutional malfeasance.   All the time I was answering, she was making incredulous faces, mocking my responses


The reporter lowered her microphone and mercifully switched off her 300 watt light.  She shook my hand and introduced herself as my media coach.  “ This is why you need media training.  In the next four hours, we will learn how to stay on message and to position yourself for the camera to appear credible, confident and compassionate”.  Over the next several hours, my coach who had made a career advising politicians and CEOs, walked me through the art of deflection.  Like a martial arts instructor, I was taught to move with the momentum of the attacker and never allow an interrogator a direct hit.  I watched video tapes of oil industry executives who had credibly appeared to defend attacks about egregious profits and watched as less effectively coached executives and politicians squirmed and were reduced by the media to shifty Simon La Grees who had  widow’s fund money in their pockets and larceny in their hearts.


I was getting a deep whiff of the carcinogenic air of Nick Naylor, the teflon sociopath spokesperson for big tobacco created by Christopher Buckley in Thank You for Smoking.  My consultant impressed on me with relentless repetition.  “ Don’t get charmed by the reporter.  Stay on message.  No matter what the question.  You come back to the key messages that we want to underscore as a company.  No matter what they ask you, segue back to the message.  Do not answer the question.  You do yourself no favors answering the question.  They are all set ups.  Stay on message.”


I have recently watched the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates with an even more jaundiced eye.  At times, I want to scream, JUST ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION!” and then I realize, they will never answer the question because they are staying on message.  John McCain’s message is “ My opponent has a liberal voting record, is naïve with no experience and consorts with radicals.”  Obama’s message is “ John McCain equals George Bush.  McCain’s experience is not an advantage but a pathetic resume of failure and cronyism which is rife in Washington DC”.  You could ask them any question you want, you will be waiting a long time for an answer unless it relates back to these talking points.   It has been made abundantly clear to me that these debates are than honesty around the issues. 


I just want someone to answer my questions.  I have several that are weighing on my mind:


1)   Senators, do any of you know what a credit swap is?  Do you know there are $ 55 Trillion dollars of CDOs still in the market?  Did you vote for or against the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act which deregulated these financial speculation instruments? Can you explain why our economy is still cratering even after a $ 700B bail out package and a coordinated cut in the lending interest rates by several country’s central banks?   How do we arrest this crisis of confidence?  It’s not about liquidity, it’s about trust and there is none.

2)   Senator Obama, you have a very liberal voting record which indicates a desire for higher taxes, increased government and entitlement programs. Herbert Hoover ushered in the Depression when in 1932, he further suffocated consumer spending by passing the largest marginal tax rate increase in history at the very time that taxes should have been held firm or decreased.  Please tell me how history won’t repeat itself? 

3)   Senator McCain, you are a Republican.  The Republicans have presided over record deficits, eroded international credibility, deregulation that led to intoxicating excesses and crippling energy dependence at the hands of powerful petro authoritarian governments who hate the US.  Cab you fault anyone for thinking a Democratic Whitehouse could not be any worse than what we have endured these past eight years?

4)   Who was minding the store at Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac?  What do you think about Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and their oversight of the quasi –governmental agencies that gave out sub prime loans to individuals who could not afford them? 

5)   I believe the next credit crisis will be consumer credit?  Do you agree and what do you propose to mitigate the coming days of reckoning as people default on their credit obligations?


I have lots more questions , Senators.  However don’t bother getting back to me.  I know McCain is an unpredictable, hawkish, Bush crony and Obama is in inexperienced uber liberal.  Yes, I know your records.  Yes, I know what you think of one another. 


But can someone just please answer my questions?


The Politics of Father and Son

The Politics of Father and Son


I am the son of a diehard Republican.  We often speak late in the evening across 3000 miles of America to discuss the economy, politics and trends in business.  I fancy myself as a middle ground moderate that advocates fiscal conservatism, social activism and open arms internationalism.   I never leave the fairway on issues.  My political ball can be found in the center left or right.  Rarely, will I find the rough reserved for those with hooks and hard right slices.  I am the voter every politician seeks to woo.  The fact that my views on public policy seem to lack the hard calluses of conservative conviction bothers my Dad but we like talking politics.  Discourse raises our collective IQ around issues – blending black and white opinions into a slate gray amalgam where clear answers are not easily found.


“Dad, I am voting for Obama.”




“As far as I’m concerned, McCain comes across like the angry old conservative that loves to chase liberals off his lawn.  I have no doubt that McCain is a good man, but he is well past his buy/sell date and has been part of the party that brought us record deficits, two wars, laissez faire regulatory oversight and back breaking energy dependence.”


(Sound of crickets)…


“Obama knows he will not get the vote of those he is planning on taxing.  He is actually being transparent about the fact that we will be negatively impacted by his tax policies.  Yet, his tax cuts for the middle class are three times those of McCain.  His tax plan will cost $ 3.5B vs. McCain’s $5.1B.  The national debt has doubled under the Republicans.  When you voted against Democrats, you always did so telling me that you did not endorse politicians who would increase the deficit, intervene into the free market – (like nationalizing banks), and hijack the country on an idealistic joyride. Isn’t that where we are today after eight years of Bush? ”


There was a heavy sigh on the phone.  Finally he spoke. “ Well if it was just about tax policies, I suppose I could tolerate higher taxes but it won’t stop there.  You just watch.  Jimmy Carter showed us what incompetent fiscal and foreign policymaking can do to the country.  He focused on unemployment with jobs programs that bloated the federal deficit while establishing a program of wage and price controls. Neither worked. By the end of the 1980, we still had high unemployment and 18% interest rates resulting in stagflation.  We know nothing about Obama – we don’t.  America is hungry for hope and grazing on his cotton candy rhetoric because Bush has ruined the Republican party.  If that damn McCain would just be himself and stop listening to his handlers  ‘attack tactics’, people might see through the great orator Obama and realize he is just a tissue paper, give away artist.”


I felt the need to defend my decision to endorse the dynamic Illinois senator with the razor thin resume. “Dad, you’re right that we don’t know a whole lot about him.  However, I do not believe he consorts with terrorists and people disloyal to America.  That’s just a hangover political tactic from the Republicans who have spent eight years seasoning our opinions with fear.  I want to believe in something and someone. I am sure he believes that trickle down economics disproportionately favors those at the top and falls well short of helping those at the bottom.  His life experiences probably include a point of view that justice and prosperity is uneven in America. He probably believes that the underbelly of free market capitalism is marked by inequity and a more polarized society.   However, I do not believe you can vilify anyone for having that political view.  For many, that was their experience, particularly under Reagan and Bush. “


He snorted a cynical chuckle.  “Here’s the problem.  The next President inherits an economy in deep trouble.  The Treasury Secretary and the White House will have unprecedented power.  I am very concerned Obama’s policies will probably deepen the recession and expand government at a time when we need to learn to live within our means by reducing government, decreasing entitlement programs and putting money back into the hands of all consumers by making the Bush tax cuts permanent.  I am telling you, you have no idea how much damage a guy like this can do – to our legal system by liberalizing the Supreme Court, to our economy by deepening the multi trillion dollar deficit and to our national security by screwing up the next critical steps we make in foreign policy.  I may not like McCain but I am not going to vote for a guy that represents more risk to the nation.”


He was getting into a lather and I knew that I could probably make him spontaneously combust if I mentioned those who must not be named – – Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid.  He had worked hard to save for retirement.  He was feeling more at risk than ever.  He was also tired.  He had lost confidence in those who he had supported for so long.   The race still had a few weeks to go. Yet, deep down, he knew that this time the majority of swing voters were too fed up, too betrayed and too angry at the Bush administration to reverse their desire for a new direction when real fear was scratching at their door.


(More silence.) He was giving me the last word.


“You know Dad, I guess it get’s down to hope and faith.  I wager that Obama is a good man.  I am certain his life experiences will shape his policies. However, he is a smart guy and if he brings into his administration strong business leaders – the Buffets, Diamonds or Grosses, I think pragmatism will triumph over idealism.  Like Thomas Friedman, call me a sober optimist. “


A pause.  “ Well, let’s just hope you’re right. But, I’m still not going to vote for him.”


“Love you, Dad”. 




There are three things in life I can always count on – death, taxes and the fact my father will never, ever vote for a Democrat.  I’m ok with that. It’s his country too.