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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Obamacare is Bad (to be clear, this is mostly a myth)

The best way to counter any mass mythology is with specific, factual information.  The degree of misinformation, hysteria and outright sabotage surrounding the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) seems unprecedented in recent history.  Too many powerful people will harm as many others as necessary simply for political advantage.  Ironically, Obamacare is a very flawed piece of legislation largely because of these deranged people.  Compromise with them was necessary to get this landmark law passed.*  But the majority of us are good, decent and want the best for our fellow citizens.  And we managed to get dozens of good provisions into Obmacare.
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is a wonderful example of specific reality to counter those who inexplicably attack the Affordable Care Act, thereby shooting themselves in the feet.  At a cost of about $2 per person per year, PCORI:
". . .helps people make informed health care decisions, and improves health care delivery and outcomes, by producing and promoting high integrity, evidence-based information that comes from research guided by patients, caregivers and the broader health care community."
And better yet, PICOR doesn't attempt to implement this vision with a top-down bureaucratic strategy.  Instead it funds carefully selected research projects all over the country.  Regrettably, some states saddled with obtuse leadership are actually refusing this funding.  Oregon is not one of them!
So do your own research, believe the opposite of what you  hear on FOX, and please visit your local state exchanges (i.e. if your State cares about you).  Oregon's is 

*all that was really necessary was a single sentence amendment to the Medicare laws, rather than a 1400+ page bill:  Any citizen of any age may enroll in Federal Medicare.  That would have saved employers 30-50% on their employee benefits expenses.


Every once in a while a book comes along that is refreshing, groundbreaking and fun to read.  Dan Pink's new book, "To Sell Is Human, the surprising truth about moving others", is one of those books.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is not a hermit.
My dad was a chemistry professor at Willamette University.  So I acquired a mild to blazing condescension to salespeople.  Yet, Dad ignored the fact that his occupation consisted almost entirely of "selling" chemistry knowledge to often recalcitrant young students.  His job was to move them towards an "A" in chemistry if at all possible.  He enjoyed it immensely.  And he was very good at it.  But by god it wasn't sales.
So I'm sure there was some disappointment when I became an insurance agent.  Since those were the good old days of cold calling, I had descended into the dregs of sales: dinner time telephone solicitation for insurance "x-dates".  Believe it or not, I called out of the white pages, "Good evening Mr. _____, this is Gary Duell with Farmers Insurance.  Would you be interested in comparing with us when your next insurance policy renewal comes up?"  If on the off chance they were willing, I would collect as many details as possible on my X-date card and file it by date for future contact.  I remember cheering and dancing around the "boiler" room when I got my first X-date.  And went on to collect over 2000 of them.  Hardly good use for an MBA.
Without revealing too much of Pink's excellent book, I can say that he turns the classical sales model on its head.  ABC- always, be, closing, becomes ABC- attunement, boyancy & clarity.  His research shows how sales actually is a very honorable profession, while some very honorable professions are actually sales.  I highly recommend it!