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How to Fix America’s Broke and Broken Healthcare System (Guest Blog by Kent Anthony)

The following post comes to us from Kent Anthony, president of Anthony Insurance, who writes this article based upon his 40 years of experience in the insurance industry.


broken glassI am a small business owner and employer. My expertise is in the Property/Casualty Insurance field, but, I am also licensed in Life and Health Insurance. Not a week goes by that I don’t get a call from someone that asks for a good Health Insurance plan that is affordable. Sounds simple, right? What if that elusive question has no answer? What do I tell people who trust me and need my help? Who has the answers? Government? Private Industry?

I read a recent Pew Research study that indicated 60% of Americans said that the government has a responsibility to ensure that every resident of the United States has health care. That means to me that the majority of Americans feel it is a “right” to have the coverage. It also means, I think, that they feel that private industry is ripping people off by not giving them what they want – free, unlimited coverage.

Reality check, people: Our founding fathers set up a system of checks and balances that requires compromise in order to get laws passed. What is “broke” is that there seems to be no such thing as any type of compromise today. If it is a Democratic plan, the Republicans hate it and vice versa. To complicate things further, factions within each party make compromise impossible as they all have to have it their own way. Obamacare is a perfect example. Mitt Romney, a republican who ran for President, essentially set up the same program as Governor of the State of Massachusetts. If Mitt had been elected, I am firmly convinced that the Democrats would have been against his health care plan on political “principal” alone. National organizations, such as AARP, the AMA, Drug Companies and all of the affiliated Hospital organizations, unions of all types, you name it… force the political process to grind to a halt when they exercise their influences. They all want it their own way.

Second reality check: This stuff isn’t free. I am amazed by how many people honestly think a magic wand can be waived and that we can just pass the bills off to the “rich people.” Maybe the rich people are tired of the “jam it to the rich,” class warfare or socialistic approach to their wallets. They have tremendous political influence. Are they ready to allow themselves to pay more?

Last reality check: Obamacare was designed to fail. Whether you think it is a good or bad program, there simply isn’t any funding to pay for it. It was designed to get something in place and worry about who and how it would be paid for later. Private industry was promised reimbursement by the federal government for their losses for the first 3 years if they participated, knowing that the worst health risks would be signing up right away. The last statistic I read is that they have only been reimbursed 12.3% of what they are owed! No wonder they are bailing out of the program.

What are “fair” answers?

Compromise has to be obtained for a lasting solution. Everyone has to participate; no opt outs. All Americans have to be enrolled and pay something. Insurance, whether it is car, home, business is about spread of risk. The healthy young, the poor, the rich…everyone has to pitch in to pay. The Heritage Foundation calls it “individual responsibility.” By having people pay something we may be able to end the cycle of entitlement. We can’t have people thinking everything is “free.” It isn’t. Actuarial tables exist that show what people should pay. Subsidize disadvantaged groups if necessary, but make them pay something.

Allow the health system the legal ability to negotiate costs of drugs, hospitalization, etc. We have cost control right now in Pennsylvania for auto, medical billings and workers compensation payments. Prior to those controls, the billings were totally out of control. This has to be in place or any system will spiral out of control. I have read that doing this will lower costs 30-60%. We have to make premiums affordable and save taxpayers on Medicare programs.

Finally, I would love the healthcare industry to be mostly privatized. We have seen how government gets too tied up in politics, crippling the system. I have to point to the inadequacies, bureaucracy and cost overruns of Medicare to make a simple point: Is Government really able to run anything the way the American people need it done? Allow free and open competition, with cost controls, and you will see a system that innovates and provides incentives to be better, rather than bloated bureaucracies that are too subject to politics to provide the services that the American people want and deserve.

What has been your personal experience with health care? Do you have an opinion on how we can improve things? Share your ideas by leaving a comment!

Kent AnthonyAbout the Author: Kent Anthony is president of Anthony Insurance, an independent insurance agency headquartered in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania. Kent has more than 40 years of experience working in the insurance industry, specializing in both personal and business insurance. Learn more about Anthony Insurance by visiting them at www.anthonyinsuranceinc.com.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2017 in Guest Blogger, Life

 

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Political PR: The Branding of a Person

vote, election, political pr, politicsThe public relations industry is an umbrella for a myriad of communication specialties. It’s not hard to see why, given that virtually every business can utilize public relations in some way. But PR has never been limited to just businesses. From best-selling authors to movie stars and real estate tycoons, some of the best career moves have been to use strategic PR to create a personal brand. This makes for fascinating case studies in which adding the “Human Element” has the ability to launch a person and as a result their business or their cause. As this year’s political campaigns steadily heat to a boil, some of the most extreme examples of the success and failures of personal branding can be found in the public relations specialty of political PR. From the surface, the strategy and tactics may appear similar, but there are critical components that keep this particular field of communications uniquely challenging.

24/7 Brand Building – As a public relations specialist based in Pennsylvania’s capital region, a large percentage of my firm’s business is driven by politics. That’s not to pigeon-hole our services, but a level of specialty in political PR continues to develop with every year and every election. Working in this industry is not for the faint of heart or the 9-5ers. It’s for those who understand that building a personal brand for a politician occurs 24/7. Once a politician steps out of the office to enjoy an evening or weekend “off,” his personal brand is still very much on. How a candidate spends his time when he’s not obviously campaigning is arguably more important than how he spends his time when he is. A week’s worth of successful fundraisers and rallies filled with shaking hands and kissing babies can all be erased with one gaffe or YouTube clip. For political PR consultants this means these clients keep us on high alert and earn our attention all hours of the day. It also means strategic planning includes after-hour social events. It’s our job to monitor and influence public perception. And while at times this may feel like trying to control the wind, it all comes down to our ability to create an effective sail with which it can be harnessed and directed in our favor.

Being Human AND Being Perfect – A key element in political PR is humanizing your client. This isn’t to say they’re anything but human as is, but when a potential career path of high power and influence lay before you, it’s especially important to remain relatable to voters. To be human is to be flawed, right? So how do you make yourself more human while still remaining flawless? This is where PR specialists prove their worth. Every client you work with will have flaws, but it’s making these flaws work for him that becomes the real challenge. Family issues, questionable decisions and blemishes on a reputation are absolutely human. But, in a political race, these could become the mole hills that voters are made to believe are Mt. Everest. With proactive PR these weaknesses can be positioned as strengths. This is also a valuable opportunity to humanize your client. By having him be the first to address these issues and to do so head on, you disarm a potential scandal and turn a negative into a powerful positive. An ancient DUI charge or rumor of a health issue can all be reasons for a politician to step forward with a cause. This proactive approach adds to his humanity, his political platform and most importantly his personal brand.

Political Snowflakes – Calling political PR a “specialty” is quite accurate as every single client is truly special. While this may sound like a cheesy bumper sticker (and isn’t this type of work filled with enough), it’s deeper than it sounds. As a public relations consultant, every client has a reasonable degree of difference from all the rest. But political PR takes this to a whole new level. Every politician has his own platform, his own personality and his own unique political race that must be taken into account when crafting his PR strategy. No form or template can be used if you’re looking for the most effective results. It’s fitting to see them as political snowflakes. Each of my political clients is an entirely new challenge who warrants his own custom-made strategy. It requires knowing his specific votership, weaknesses, strengths and political platform – all of which are as unique as the person they represent.

There is no question that the political industry is a PR specialty. Even where degrees are offered in such a specific field, nothing can replace the knowledge gained from learning it as you live it. From 30+ year veterans to newly minted political enthusiasts, I don’t know one person who would call this industry simple or predictable. So while it may require a special skill set to handle such volatility – this aspect alone is what also fuels many of us to venture into the uncharted territory of political PR to begin with.

tampa bay times forum, RNC, republican national convention

Outside the 2012 Republican National Convention–a mecca for political PR

tampa bay times forum, RNC, republican national convention

Inside the 2012 RNC–Tampa Bay Times Forum

tampa bay times forum, RNC, republican national convention

Stump Speeches – a staple to every political campaign

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Business & Success

 

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