Because I don’t usually talk, or write, politics. It’s not my bag, and it’s certainly not WUL’s bag.
Which makes me quite a strange duck in terms of living and working in a town that eats, breathes, and sleeps politics, doesn’t it? (Ironically, when I was in college political science was one of my minors – the Indian equivalent – and I excelled at it. Those were the days…)
But even for someone who isn’t an avowed political junkie, yesterday was truly a remarkable day.
Because to be a part of the public relations profession…
… working for an agency that does a ton of (great) work in the health care area…
… be physically in D.C…
… to be able to not just disseminate the news, but to be able to watch major media outlets try to figure it out in real time…
… to see, thanks to great relationship-building and hard work, a colleague’s excellent op-ed run in one of the major trades for our industry…
… and to then create relevant content for our company’s owned media channels …
… all in the space of three hours…
Seriously, it was like being in a Dan Brown novel. When they say, “You can’t make this stuff up,” tell you what, they’re not joking!
It was a pretty amazing day.
Not so much because of the ruling itself (I’m still not offering an opinion on that either way), but because yet again I saw, in action, the incredible gift technology has given our profession and, in fact, everyone;
Because I saw, in real time, how we are not just consumers, but curators and creators of content;
Because we were able to originate decent multi-media content in a way that would have been impossible 10 years ago;
And we did it at no cost to our firm.
Really. Quite. Amazing.
The Supremes rang my bell yesterday, when I absolutely didn’t expect them to. How about you?
Image: majunznk via Flickr, CC 2.0
How are you taking advantage of the changing technological landscape? Are you using it to showcase your firm’s (or your own) thought leadership? What else are you doing, how else are you using digital media creatively? Do share!
It was interesting to watch the evolution of news and social media as the ruling came out. A clear example of how a major news organization may not be much better than all the amateur content curators out there.
@richescorner Well, I do think that major news media have a huge role to play in validating what we hear on social; research from Pew points to that. But when they try to be the first ones out the door, and slip up in such dramatic fashion, we can't help but get even more skeptical of them, as we already are...
I'm sure it made for a crazy day as it was insane enough all the way on the other side of the country. We woke up to the announcement and the failures. How interesting it must have been to be writing content and strategic responses.
@mdbarber It was. It was also really interesting to be among people who were watching the updates the same way I'd watch for updates out of, say, a tech or Apple conference, LOL!
Technology also exposed what people say in private. I tried to get @jasonkonopinski to check out the #TCOT hashtag knowing what would be there on Twitter or #teaparty pretty scary stuff. I saw 'The letters Barak Obama spell Hitler'. I saw KKK style racism. I saw calls for a violent revolution.
My question is this good or bad? As a NYer I always said if you don't like me tell me to my face vs tall behind my back. Down south when I finished school in North Carolina it was the opposite.
BTW I noticed you are a card carrying member of the league of social media women voters...not sure what that says about your politics but I am nervous being associated with you.
It *is* scary when you see the venom out there... but I think it was always there, it's just exposed now. Though, as I mentioned on @soulati 's blog a while back, I think the anonymity that social gives people leads to even more bullying & less civility, which is sad. I just think if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't say it online.
I'm curious to know more! Can you tell us? What types of content - opinions/reactions from your client CEO's? Or more informative how-to's? Was it for a blog or for distribution elsewhere? Sounds exciting. I love that kind of energy especially when you are really in the middle of it.
@Lisa Gerber So... we had an op-ed from @calston , who's an SVP here that ran in PRWeek (online), shortly after the ruling was public (and people had figured out what it was... mostly... you saw the confusion that was running rampant).
When I heard about the op-ed, I suggested we pull from that to write up a couple paras as a teaser, film Chuck (on my iPhone!) to get a few sound bites (angle: the PR take on the ruling, and what this means for health care practitioners), upload that to YouTube, and then run the video & teaser copy as a brief blog post, linking back to the PRWeek op-ed. We could only do this if the PRWeek op-ed ran, though, and we were careful not to scoop it.
So we didn't just get great placement on the op-ed, we were able to create two additional pieces of content on our owned media, which I love. And that's the kind of thing I think we should all be doing more and more of, don't you?
Like you, I tend to avoid political discussions online. And for me, the decision yesterday isn't about politics per se, but I've sure seen the nastiness of both sides come out on Facebook as they mock and ridicule one another (grow up people). And I'll say, to the point of your post, I follow most news that way, less about the news itself, but more about the way it is reported and disseminated, but that's mostly because I'm a former journalist and broadcaster with a graduate degree in Mass Communications, and this was a big part of my area of study
For me it's a practical thing. I don't have health insurance, and I have had health issues. My problem is that I can't afford it, or I'd have it. It's expensive, and that's a sign that the health system is broken (as is the political system). I went to the online calculators provided by the government and plugged in my numbers and I make just enough that i don't qualify for "free" insurance, and will be "forced" to purchase it or pay a penalty. Now admittedly, we still don't know what all of that means. But now it's up to my state, PA, to come up with "affordable" insurance. Which they had, and I was on a 3-year waiting list for that. Until of course it went broke and ran out.
That's where I worry. I'll be penalized financially for not having enough money to buy insurance. I also talked to a client of mine who has just under 50 employees. He was thinking of expanding his business, and now he's thinking against it, because having to provide the level of insurance required by this would increase his expenses far above the projected revenues he would gain from the expansion.
On the other hand, I have family members with pre-existing conditions who are in a real bind, and I like what this does for them, in principal.
The two things that bother me the most about this is that legislation was enacted that has far reaching consequences for a lot of people, and yet it hasn't been fleshed out. I hear a lot of, "It was passed, and NOW we can figure out how to make it work". That's scary to me. The money has to come from somewhere.
And, then there's the issue that we were told there would be no taxes or tax increases involved, and yet this was justified, by the administrations attorneys as a tax in order to get it thru the court. I've had friends defend this by saying, "It's politics. We all know they lie to get elected and do this stuff, but that doesn't matter".
I'm sorry, but when has lying become acceptable?
And now I've taken this post to a place where yo probably didn't want it to go. So to bring it back, I love watching news unfold in the digital age, and how we can do so much with so little.
@KenMueller Um... yea, you kinda did. :) But I can't tell you how much I appreciate the fact that you feel comfortable enough to go there... here. So thank you for that.
I honestly don't have the answers to your questions/thoughts... I wish I did. I don't know that anyone does... though I wonder if @mcclennan does
Well, considering 20% of our revenues at @LanierUpshaw are health insurance driven, this potentially has an impact on that. However, instead of bemoaning the negatives, we are being pro-active and educating our clients and prospects on what this means to them as a business and a consumer of the product.
I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out our health care system is broken. I also don't think it takes that same scientist to figure out there is no quick fix either.
Of course, the same thing can be said about the problems and disenchantment with politics and the divisiveness of the two party system. I don't see how anything gets accomplished under the current climate.
I will go on record and say I am NOT in favor of nationalized medical care. Just look to our north and ask our Canadian friends how that is working out for them. However, I don't think children should be denied proper medical care for a lack of ability to pay.
The real question is, when it is all said and done, who is going to pay for it and how?
@bdorman264 @LanierUpshaw I agree with your final question, but I really want to know how this will come down on insurance companies, both agencies like yours, and the companies that offer the policies. Do you think we'll see them change their offerings, or will some go out of business? I have a local friend who has an agency, and they sold off their health insurance sales division within the past year because of this, knowing that with the low profit margin, trying to keep up with this would be more of a headache than it's worth. They focus more on their core products of auto, property, and life insurance, as well as some business insurance products.
@KenMueller I see us evolving more into a consultative role and getting a fee instead of a commission. People still need to know how to use the system effectively and you also want to promote and encourage wellness initiatives.
Because we are primarily a commercial agency, we had the same discussions about personal lines and possibly selling that book off. Now, percentage-wise, it is our most profitable department.
I do know of some smaller shops who just do health insurance who have gravitated away from the small group business and now doing other financial products like annuities.
It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out and who gets paid. It's still one big mess...........
@bdorman264 I spent quite a bit of time on the Lanier Upshaw site after you posted here. See what social media does for you? ;) Do you guys work only with Florida customers or do/can you go nationwide?
@Shonali Are you kidding me? Of course! This is just a job. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to post.
@LaurenVargas Thank you for the links! Are we still friends, btw? :)
@Shonali Not trying to side step. We’re happy to address all questions, but we think the bigger issue here is that no one yet has all the answers as to how ACA will ultimately play out. At Aetna, we continue to push for broader reform. Ken asked if this will change our offerings, and Bill asked about payment. We are focused on innovation, and we’re driving toward solutions that are essential to meet the health care needs of all Americans. We have to improve access, quality and affordability. To do that, we’re laying the groundwork for an entirely new healthcare payment system.
Here are a few resources that might help with some of the questions:
- Our CEO’s message on the Supreme Court decision: http://bit.ly/MFqXlC
- A Healthcare reform timeline on when provisions take effect: http://bit.ly/M8QsOM
- Lastly, we have a space on the Aetna website for regular updates on the implementation of health care reform. From this page, in the left navigation, you can also browse to find more information on impacted benefits, programs and more.http://bit.ly/O4SGKM
As always, we’re here to continue the dialogue.
@LaurenVargas You know I love you personally... but I don't think this answers my or Ken's (or Bill's) question(s)... and I have heard @aetna reps on NPR, for example, be pretty straight with their answers (and was impressed). Is there an FAQ on Aetna's site (my insurance provider, btw) that you can direct us to?
Thanks for reaching out in the comments! Yesterday was an amazing day to watch the news play out on and offline. Aetna was listening to the chatter online and will continue to listen and participate in the discussions as we learn more about what the decision means.
The Supreme Court decision doesn’t change Aetna’s business strategy or commitment to system reforms that make quality care more affordable and accessible. We’re prepared for the changes ahead and will continue to fully comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, we know that much more must be done to fix the problems that remain in our health care system. Aetna is focused on delivering the next generation of health care through innovative solutions that improve quality and health outcomes, which ultimately makes care more affordable.
As always, we’re open to your thoughts and feedback, and welcome all to reach out to us on Twitter…@aetna
Community Strategy Director at Aetna