Obamacare. Or is it ObamaCare? However you spell it, if you're in the health care advisory business you shouldn't be saying it.
While President Obama claims to embrace the term - "I have no problem with people saying Obama cares. I do care," he told supporters during a stump speech in Minnesota last summer - the reality is the nickname for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is most often a pejorative rallying cry against health care reform. And there is no need for deprecating language in a professional environment.
That's not to say that the complaints behind it aren't legitimate. We all know there are flaws (to put it mildly) in the landmark legislation that passed two years ago this month, but if you are using the term when talking with employers about their health care plan you are doing a disservice to yourself, your clients and your prospects by making it political.
I'm not saying cease being politically active, of course. The work you do with HUPAC, IFAPAC, CouncilPAC, InsurPac and others is critically important. And while it may be tempting to lay into PPACA, and the president for that matter (especially if it's with a like-minded client), it's not likely in your job description to do so at work. So when it comes to discussing health care reform and how it relates to and impacts an employer's health care plan, let the facts speak for themselves.
Aon Hewitt is certainly keeping the professional dialogue flowing. In this month's cover story ("No such thing as 'wait and see,'" p. 26) CEO Kristi Savacool discusses her recent trips to the White House, where she met with presidential aides to talk about health care reform and exchanges. The global consulting firm already has a retiree health exchange up and running, and will launch a large group model in time for this fall's open enrollment.
"We have been on the front line," Savacool says, "really influencing the development of health care reform, influencing our clients with respect to how they put their own health care strategies together."
There are times when advisers need to help influence the rules of the game, and there are times they need to help clients adjust and cope with those rules as they exist now or are likely to change in the future. By taking a page from Savacool's playbook, they can channel those efforts into appropriate forums without sinking to the level of mischaracterization and disrespectful rhetoric. That's how advisers will be taken seriously in both business and political discourse.
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