What is So Great About Private Health Insurance ? Ask Wendell Potter

Most significant challenges deserve objective analysis based on economic principals. Supply and demand being at the core. Things costing to much ? The explaination is usually a lack of competition or artifical restrictions among alternative options for buyers. Not enough supply ? Barriers to entry , government restrictions or diminishing prospects for profit can be at the root. Interestingly, when it comes to health care what people pay for and what they get is at the core of the problem and private insurance intermediaries are profiting from market inefficiencies. In the end the private for profit insurance industry delivers no real or sustained value and this is central to the health care crisis because they slice the pie with the main objective being their profits, not a uniform allocation of risk and costs among populations to make the cost for all lower. This runs counter to the purpose of insurance, particular for a risk that we all are subjected to, our health. This is why the public option being debated in Congress isn't the answer to impact costs and coverage; what is is universal coverage that eliminates private insurance.

Recently Wendell Potter shared his views as a high ranking former insurance executive. During Congressional hearings in June 2009 he reminded us all that health insurance executives had assured Congress in 1993 they would work to secure universal medical coverage and end denials of coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Then they moved heaven and earth to kill reform. They've made the same promises now, Potter observed. But they're in an even better position to throttle reform. Mergers and acquisitions have turned the industry into a cartel of huge corporations.

"The industry is bigger, richer and stronger, and it has a much tighter grip on our healthcare system," he said. "The last thing they want is a government program set up as their competition."

See Potter's interview on Bill Moyers Journal wherein he describes the realities of the health care insurance business.

If Potter's observations aren't enough, read the Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik's recent article What's so great about private health insurance?: The bloody battle in Congress over a 'public option . In it he explains some basic facts.

The firms take billions of dollars out of the U.S. healthcare wallet as profits, while imposing enormous administrative costs on doctors, hospitals, employers and patients. They've introduced complexity into the system at every level. Your doctor has to fight them to get approval for the treatment he or she thinks is best for you. Your hospital has to fight them for approval for every day you're laid up. Then they have to fight them to get their bills paid, and you do too.

People should remember what the health care nightmare in the U.S. really involves. Insurers are part of the problem, not the solution. That observation is nothing but straight forward economics.

Welch, This Oracle Is Just What the Doctor Ordered

Organizations and their leaders can react in different ways during tough times. With many industries experiencing tumultuous and fundamental change compounded by recession, it is more daunting then ever for leaders to understand what the best choices are for the future. From Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions to Collin’s Good to Great , theories abound regarding the relevant paths to success.

Such uncertainty makes the advice of those who have “been there and done that” quite refreshing. Jack Welch should be the “poster child” for such enlightened and valuable counsel . As with the Oracle character from the Matrix films, he possesses the power of foresight, and his experience serves to advise and guide those attempting to overcome serious challenges. His back to basics philosophy, founded on the four pillars of mission, behaviors, candor and differentiation, is just what the doctor ordered for many leaders in today’s world. Watch Jack during this Managementv interview explain what is truly relevant to organizational success as he outlines his beliefs in the four pillars. An adoption of these rules is a good place to begin when evaluating how to move your organization forward in the best manner possible.

Search and Microsoft's Bing

Better methods of delivering intuitive answers to search will drive even higher adoption of the Internet . Now comes Bing, Microsoft's answer to this search opportunity. Functioning as what Microsoft is calling a "decision engine," rather than simply linking users to sites, Bing searches often end with information directly from Bing. For example, if you type in the name of a city you get local weather, hotel prices and other information without having to click anywhere. And, depending on the content licensing rules of sites that Bing draws from, it can sometimes display content directly — from Wikipedia for example — without the user having to click through. It even has a built-in shopping engine that, when you search for a product, shows you images, offerings from multiple merchants as well as product information, customer reviews and expert reviews. The search engine also helps you find travel deals and lets you book travel without having to leave the site. I'm not sure how well it works, but it includes a "price predictor" that helps determine if the price of the ticket you're thinking of buying is likely to go up or down. Find out more below.

Business Model Innovation

If your industry, organization or self is not actively evaluating its model - you better start now. How products and services are conceived, developed, distributed and sold is increasingly changing as the result of a variety of factors. The music and video industries are just the beginning of a wave that will overcome every business model. The result is greater opportunity and risk which requires more thought and understanding. Take a look at the presentation here to get an idea of where to start.