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What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

If you were hoping for a thoughtful discussion on the reform of our health care system, I have bad, bad news.

It turns out that health insurers are “villians.”  Public anger over the massive, mostly unread, reform bills is “manufactured,” and anxiety created by the expectation of unknown changes to people’s most valued benefits is the result of disinformation and “fishy” stories.

It’s like an employee benefits roll-out gone horribly awry.

The protests and disastrous town halls look to me just like the kinds of angry protests that happen all the time when employers make important changes to a benefit plan and the employees either don’t understand them or don’t agree.

Blaming the people who don’t follow what you’re doing and why is a big mistake.  Sure, there is politics.  But health care is a serious, emotional issue, and it should be no surprise that people react badly when they think something to do with it may be taken away.

Dreaming up ideas of how health care ought to work is relatively easy.  But figuring out how to implement it is hard, and there are no short cuts.  The people who actually run benefits plans – employers, benefits consultants, HR professionals – can tell you:  there is no replacement for communication, engagement and respect for opposing views.

The strategy of demonizing those who aren’t on board is a mistake, and is as likely to set back the cause of reform as it is to further inflame an already volatile audience.

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

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