Wednesday, January 06, 2010

High and Low

A word of advice; if the owners of this country and their soldier minions don't want you to have something, you should probably want it. Socialized health care is a great example. Consider, if it's such a terrible thing for our supposed free market capitalist system, then why is it that everyone in congress, the judicial and executive branch has socialized healthcare - for life - but they refuse to give it to you?

In fact, the so-called public option had to be eliminated, because it was perceived to be the crack in the dam that could have led to - gasp - competition! UNFAIR competition, the insurance companies - and I'm sure the HMOs and pharmas behind them - cry, based upon the rationale that if a public option has goverment funding then it has an unfair advantage.

The biggest welfare mothers on Wall Street aside, let's talk about advantage then. Who has the advantage when it comes to millions spent in lobbying and campaign contributions which translates into their politics becoming policy as well as taking calls and office time? In other words, why is "advantage" only brought up in relation to when it potentially impacts their bottom line?

IF there were true free markets and real capitalism, we'd have any number of healthcare scenarios available in front of us. For instance, if the privatized healthcare industry is so confident about what they deliver, then let's stop all the talking and pontificating about pros and cons, of which there seems to be an endless supply of mouths on either side. Instead of wasting energy and resources endlessly chasing our tails on this debate, let's follow scientific method and do some testing, some trials.

Take California, the biggest state in both economy and population. Let's try a test run of a hybrid system - private vs. socialized. Like any good marketing professional, such as Frank Luntz, put out the call for focus groups. In Cali, there must be several hundred thousand uninsured to pool from. This recruiting, screening and administering process alone would create jobs that could be drawn down from the stimulus - you hear me Arnold?

Between LA and Frisco alone, you would have tremendous marketing data from a large subject pool and could draw across many demos. Even if a public option does not come out as a positive option, this marketing data on a very particular segment - the uninsured or near the brink - will be very valuable toward re-thinking other strategies. Why? For the simple fact that the onslaught of baby-boomers are soon going to be impacting the system like at no time in history, and many of them have fallen through the privatized healthcare cracks, or are teetering on the brink of disaster. Instead of going all in on a system that's past broken and a money pit - except for those who have a capital interest in it - we should be hedging our bets based upon RESEARCH, TESTING and DATA GATHERING, not endless chasing our tails through politicized debate and filibustering which only serves the status quo. In fact this latter point is one of the prime reasons why we have politicized debate and filibustering in the first place. Whether Democrat or Republican, if we look at the root word of "conservative" then we see what all of this intellectual clutter is for, or at least results in.

One important outcome; marketers are interested in what the market says, regardless of the "experts' opinions." Do you really think producers of any number of boy bands or teen girls who have been sexualized for music tv consumption really care about their anti-critics, so long as deals are made and profits roll in? The point is, once a focus group has finished testing, exit surveys, interviews and polling are culled, providing a basis for deciding whether or not a public option should be instituted at least on a hybrid basis.

One last go at the privatized healthcare industry constituents - again, insurers, HMOs and pharma - cry about unfair competition. If government is SOOOOOO incompetent as conservatives love to wail, then what are they afraid of? (and, more to the point, why do they continue to grow government???)

The post office is a perfect example of a government sponsored, socialized service. But the private sector in the form of UPS seems to have figured it out, DHL came online (and has left) and of course, FedEx took delivery and tweaked it to new heights - and profits. The po needless to say got hit hard. Libraries are another socialized service, but that hasn't stopped Borders and Barnes and Noble, let alone Amazon from competing. The issue is innovation and customer satisfaction. If the privatized industry is confident in their abilities insofar as those criteria, well then, let's run some trials. Let's give the public a voice outside of their bought off republic shills.

There's much more to be said, of course, than in this blog piece, but I think the germ is there for a platform to be thought out, a real plan that could at the very least yield us some very valuable data. For all of our mouthing off about free market capitalism in this country, we should at least allow a hybrid private/socialized system in a testing and research phase.

Last, think about the possibilities for hybrid systems in finance! Public banking....

The bottom line is: Let's get some data, then let's talk.