A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The (Health Care) Forum
Paul J. Disser is chairman and chief executive officer of Spectrum Vision Systems, Inc., Kansas based PPO with more than 3,200 independent optometrists under contract servicing over 1.7 million members in the Preferred Vision Care and Preferred Vision Care Plus plans throughout the United States.
Disser is also president of Spectrum Benefits Management Corporation, a consulting TPA working primarily with ancillary benefits products. He serves on the board of directors of the Mass Marketing Insurance Institute (MI 2) and chairs the committee for education and seminars for MI2 . He is also a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters.
Disser can be contacted at 8695 College Boulevard, Suite 220, Overland Park, KS 66210. Telephone: 913-451-1672.
The other evening I was watching a discussion of the health care situation on C-Span. (I refuse to repeat the horrifying statistics which anyone remotely interested in this subject can by now litanize from a state of deep coma.) As the debate droned on over the same old ground, I dozed off. I was awakened a little later by the theme song of a movie that my kids had slipped into the VCR during my respite. It went something like this:
Something familiar, something peculiar,
Something for everyone, a comedy tonight.
Something appealing, something appalling,
Something for everyone, a comedy tonight.
Nothing for kings, nothing for crowns,
Bring on the liars, lovers, and clowns.
Old situations, new complications,
Nothing unpretentious or polite.
Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!
For a moment I thought C-Span had refocused its cameras inside Ms. H.R. Clinton’s inner sanctum where they had caught the “Faithful 500” in a soul- stirring rendition of a revisionist’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” As this particular movie progressed, I was convinced I was in the middle of Washington, DC, witnessing our paid political powers in action. The principal characters were:
Senex: The elder statesman, living with his wife and dependent, pretending to govern the riff raff.
Likus: An influence peddler who occasionally dabbles in buying and selling slaves.
Erronious: A befuddled old man who spends his time searching for his children who were pirated away by mercantilists.
Sudilus: A self-reliant slave whose obsession is freedom.
And various and assorted bit players, i.e., procurers, panderers, philanderers, eunuchs, tumblers, bumblers, good guys and bad’ guys. You know, standard DC fare.
Between the principal and bit players there was enough pomposity, confusion, and duplicity to fill a weeks worth, of the Congressional Record.
Not to diminish the seriousness of the sweeping changes proposed for our health care system, but I feel that many of us, including myself, sometimes get caught up in the Beltway’s rhetoric de jour. We allow ourselves to be influenced and thrown off balance by forces of dubious worth. It was, therefore, very refreshing to attend the annual convention of the Inter Company Marketing Group a few months ago.
Although expressing the requisite concern regarding more government intervention in our business, most of the attendees were taking a pro-active position relative to their future sources of revenue. The sole objective of this gathering was to move product. Sell something! Life, medical, DI, dental, vision, LTC. It was like watching a human jigsaw puzzle as product and distribution sought each other out until a fit was found. In many cases, products or concepts needed to be massaged to fit the exact needs of the producer/distributor relationship.
So what is new about that? Nothing! It has ever been so in the insurance industry. Imagination. Intelligence. Initiative. Innovation. Survival! Whether represented by government, the economy, personal preferences, or competitive pressures, there will always be a surplus of excuses for those looking for them. For others, these major/minor inconveniences represent opportunities to exercise their God-given talents to create.
Considering that none of the “. . . experienced, vested interests . . .” have been invited to participate in the inner sanctum discussions with Ms. H.R. Clinton and her untainted gurus, they should have plenty of time to create new products to fill the gaps that will surely exist in any bureaucratically engineered, politically correct plan that ultimately sets sail.
Decide for yourself. Is the last verse in your song going to be tragic or comedic?