The Riemann Hypothesis

On May 24, 2000, there was a big meeting in Paris, a gathering of 500 of the world’s best minds in math.  I can’t recall the scheduling conflict that prevented me from going, or exactly the reason why my invitation apparently got lost in the mail, but I was not able to make it.

At the event, The Clay Mathematics Institute announced the Millennium Prize Problems, seven stumpers that are apparently unsolvable, including the Riemann Hypothesis, identified as such at a similar gathering in the City of Lights a century before. 

There is a $1 million prize for each of these, available to the first person that solves them. Wikipedia is not quite as ‘all-knowing’ as they would lead you believe, because I looked and can’t find the answers.  There goes my retirement strategy.

Working on unsolvable math problems…a good way to spend a rainy day, though personally, I prefer a nap.

And that is what the Republicans have on their hands with the healthcare bill.

There is almost nothing imaginable that could get agreement from both their conservative and moderate wings, and that gulf is really wide.  And the reality is that no Democrat in the Senate is going to break ranks and support a deal that does not move this thing hard to the left, which means it can’t survive the conference process with the House.

After you get through the politics and the policy, you get to all the rules.  The reconciliation process, the Byrd Rule, cloture, how this is impacted by the timing of the 2018 budget process, and tax reform are all arcane, mind-numbing topics that make you want to change the channel, but they are real obstacles.  Write those out on a chalkboard and it would stump the brainiacs gathered in the Amphithéâtre Marguerite de Navare at the Collège de France back in 2000.

Given the calendar and all, not to mention that 2018 primaries start as early as March (Lord, help us) insiders say the Senate has about two months to get this done.  This for a group that think sloths are a little manic and should just chill.

So then what?

I can’t believe I am going to do this, but next week we’ll spend a little time exploring every liberal’s most treasured policy fantasy.


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Tim Coan, ALN’s CEO, writes an insightful and witty blog three times a week about a variety of topics relevant to independent physician practices.

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