Top Posts on From The Musings of Peter DeHaan for 2012

Here are the most popular posts on The Musings of Peter DeHaan for 2012. Some are quite recent while others are still being read now even though they were posted years ago. Thank you for reading my posts:

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Healthcare Call Centers

The Cost of Healthcare Reform

This week I received my quarterly health insurance bill.  Boy, was I in for a shock.  It showed a 49% increase in my premium.

Convinced it was in error, I naively called the company’s call center to get it corrected.  The rep was nonchalant about the whole thing, acting as though a 49% increase was normative.  When I protested, he began offering lame excuses:

  • The rates always go up
  • It’s because of inflation
  • There have been too many claims

Each time, I dismissed his explanation, telling him that his stated reason was insufficient to justify a 49% increase in my premium.

Not able to dissuade me, he finally relented, sighed, and offered a plausible and convincing reason.  “The rate increase is the result of added costs that we are incurring because of the Obama healthcare reform,” he said.  His tone was somber and sincere.  He was no longer mechanically talking at me, but was personally talking with me.  I believed him.

He then worked with me, offering options.  I ended up increasing my deductible several thousand dollars in order to keep my premium in check.

His first three reasons where, I am sure, the standard script that he was supposed to follow.  What I am not sure of, is if he deviated from his script in placing the blame on healthcare reform or if that was an official corporate statement.

What I do know, is that I agree with him.  It is what I feared all along, that healthcare reform would end up costing me more and offering me less.


The Next Volley for Healthcare

As a magazine and website publisher, all manner of articles and press releases show up in my inbox on a daily basis. Although some of them are carefully targeted to the markets I serve, most are widespread missives that are sent to every publisher with a pulse, regardless of their beat or focus.

Leading up to the historical—some would say, infamous—healthcare vote in the US house last week, I received an increased number of press releases agin the bill.  Since I wasn’t interested in using any of them, I quickly scanned them while pressing delete; I do not recall any that were in favor of the bill.

Also appearing in my inbox were an increasing number of “op-ed” submissions decrying either the bill or the process. Even though I’ve never published an op-ed piece and never plan to, the submissions continued to arrive. What amazed me was that, for the most part, there was no effort to present a thoughtful discourse or elegant argument; they were filled with polarized perspectives and emotionally laden rhetoric.  While I might have agreed with their general point, I was repelled by their tenor, tone, and tack.

Once the bill was passed and then signed by president Obama, I continued to receive press releases and op-ed pieces in opposition to what had happened — and fear of what might happen.  A new element was added — announcements of lawsuits being filed.

It would seem that the vote approving the bill and its subsequent signing into law will not end the debate; it will merely shift to a new venue.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Writing and Publishing

The AWOL Blogger is Back

It’s been two weeks since my last blog and some are wondering what happened.  This is the longest span of non-blog-activity that I have encountered since I began walking down this path.

It’s not that I’ve run out of ideas; I have plenty: from the rabbits in my yard, to Super Bowl ads, to the worst automated-attendant recording I’ve ever encountered, to the packaging on my sandwich, to football.  Then there’s, politics, the healthcare debate, the economy, and unemployment.  Oh, did I mention I had the flu?  Yep, I’ll blog about that too!  I imagine that really excites you.  Then there are the ideas that got away — the one’s that had a time-sensitive element, whose opportunity has come and gone.

So, if it’s not ideas, is it time?  No, it’s not so much a time issue either — though I have been busy trying to get caught up from the holidays and whatnot.

The real issue is I’ve been doing more writing than normal, rendering the allure of blogging a bit less appealing and more along the lines of work — yuck.

Regardless of that, the reality is that I’ve all these blog ideas spinning around in my mind and the only recourse to free me of them is to release them into the blogosphere.

So, I’m back, I primed, and I’m going to resume blogging — on Monday.

Have a great weekend

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.


The Obama Legacy and Healthcare Reform

The healthcare reform issue took a giant step forward last weekend, when the Senate agreed to debate the issue. Although things are a bit quieter now, no doubt in part to the Thanksgiving weekend, it is but a momentary lull.

President Obama is putting the weight of the presidency behind this effort and expending a great deal of political capital. For better or worse, healthcare reform could very likely be the legacy of his Presidency.

I fear that future generations will not view it as a good legacy. Here’s why. First, a large majority of citizens are happy with their existing healthcare. Yes, they would like it to cost less and require less paperwork and red tape, but they are essentially pleased with it.  Second, a slight majority feel that the plans and ideas being bandied about are going to make their healthcare situation worse.

That’s a recipe for disaster. A majority of people are basically happy and fear “reform” as making things worse.

Aside from this, there are two other concerns. Has there ever been a government initiative that didn’t end of costing more that expected or promised? (When social security was rolled out, it was promised that the withholding would never go above 1 percent—now it’s more than five times that.) Second, when has the government ever made something simpler? Yes, I am sure that there are some examples where legislation did cost less or did make things simpler, but does anyone truly think that will happen with healthcare? I don’t.

To me that is three strikes against the current healthcare reform efforts:
making it worse—strike 1,
costing more—strike 2, and
failing to simplify—you’re out!

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.