Changing minds to change politics

A friend told me a story today that made start thinking how business-as-usual goes on because companies don’t appear to have the guts to risk change.  It’s oh-so-easy to keep those costs out of the public’s purview and pass them on to us, the consumers.  This goes for all businesses, but I’m concerned here with the mega-companies that rule the business of healthcare.

My friend’s daughter, a nurse, attended a dinner arranged by the people who run the corporation she works for that manages nursing homes.  Showing them a good time is one of the ways they woo doctors to refer patients to their facilities.  Taking them out for expensive dinners, for example.  The irony is, for the most part the patients that these doctors care for, are on public assistance.

Maybe my thinking is twisted, but the way corporations entertain clients, the way banks pay exorbitant bonuses to their overpaid executives, is one of the things making people so angry.  Even if we know what’s going on, what can we do about it?

We’re the ones who get the shaft when health insurance companies raise their rates 43%, calling it a matter of covering the rising costs of health care.  Never mind that it’s their practices raising … you get it.

When I heard that rate-hike announcement by Anthem Blue Cross last month, I knew how arrogant these people really are.  It never occurred to them that their timing was a little off.  That’s just dumb.  But President Obama, who is anything BUT dumb, saw the opportunity to make a point, in a big pro-healthcare speech.  He grabbed the news story, and ran with it.

What if, in my friend’s daughter’s case, the doctors would be willing to say “I like the way you do business,” to companies demonstrating even the tiniest bit of restraint?  What if, instead of partying at the most impressive  steak house in the city, the doctors enjoyed an excellent catered dinner in the company’s corporate dining room, or conference room, or whatever … And what if doctors were impressed by the corporation’s commitment to keep costs down, to do their small part to change the way healthcare costs keep rising beyond anything reasonable, even in the business world?  What if JUST ONE mega-company moved to change the culture of rewarding or honoring folks they want to impress by spending a lot of money on them, even before they they’ve earned the company a dime?  I’m a marketing-and-public relations consult, I see a ton of good press for a pretty unpopular target.

It seems to me that the only angry people we see and hear on the media are blowing in the wind, from ALL directions.  Nobody is offering any substantive solutions.  Nobody is willing to risk losing a few dollars by changing business-as-usual.  I’m solution-oriented by nature.  If the whole healthcare system is broke, let’s fix it.  Start by changing the culture of business.

I think a lot of angry people would have to applaud any company that broke ranks and at least tried.

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