When I think back to business school, I can only imagine in a few years that Obamacare will be a great case study for business school students to use. It begs lots of questions that really test someone’s decision making ability.
- You know healthcare is a huge issue for the country. How do you respond?
- You create a law that divides the country. How do you get people to focus on the benefits of the law?
- You create a law that no one understands and has to go to the Supreme Court. How do you defend it?
- You have to negotiate with lots of powerful groups to get everyone on board. How do you manage that?
- You decide to go with a web based strategy for sales and distribution. How do you develop and test that?
- You find out early that your web portal has functionality and security risks. What do you do about it?
- You have a failed launch and need to fix it. How do you do that?
- You made a promise to people about keeping their healthcare which everyone in the industry knew wasn’t true. What do you do now?
- You make changes on the fly that affect your partners and will affect other long-term components of the plan. Do you sacrifice for the long-term for short-term political gain?
- You have a chance to admit the complexities of the healthcare system and move forward. Do you take it or stick to your guns?
I could go on, but it is fascinating. I think these last few weeks of decisions have been crazy. I hope there’s some group of healthcare people that really understand the current US system advising him, but it doesn’t seem like it. Or, the administration is deliberately making choices to shift blame.
Allowing health insurers to extend individual plans that they’ve already cancelled is crazy. It’s driving mass confusion with consumers. It’s lighting up the call centers. And, ultimately, if those healthy consumers go back to the plans, the underwriting for the exchanges will be garbage meaning that they health insurers will lose their shirts. This will then mean that they underwrite with even higher prices for 2015 which will create a vicious cycle.
Like I’ve said before, this started with good intentions, but it has been a series of bad decisions. Some things had to happen. Nothing happens without some failures, but at some point, we need better decisions to be made.