Channeling Your Rage Over Health Care Costs

If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position where you don’t have to directly manage your health care, you probably haven’t noticed the flood of ire spilling out across the country in the wake of health insurance providers rolling out their costs for 2015 plans. For most, you’re fortunate if premiums are only going up in the low double digits alongside doubled and tripled deductibles and other reductions in coverage all while most of those same providers are earning record profits. It’s certainly enough to make you want to punch the first health insurance executive that crosses your path squarely in the nose; fortunately, there are better solutions (albeit, perhaps not as immediately satisfying), let’s take a look at a few.

Begin Playing Politics Via Your Government Affairs Committee

Adaptistration People 149Regardless of how much people seem to love wrapping themselves up in some sort of political ideology driven discussion when it comes to heal care insurance, it is still a state regulated business which means your organization’s Government Affairs Committee has an opportunity to influence these developments toward more productive results. For example, it would be a stretch to think that even the most effective nonprofit arts organization government affairs committee is going to influence actual regulations but that doesn’t prevent them from finding ways to leverage pressure toward the sorts of back room agreements that result in increased corporate giving to arts organizations.

Get Involved In State And National Arts Advocacy Efforts Geared Toward Shaping Behavior

It is common for most arts advocacy organizations to maintain one or more political efforts, most of which are geared toward educating candidates on the importance of arts etc., not unlike the American for the Arts Action Fund. Moreover, these groups also compile and tabulate a great deal of data and one area that can benefit from refined efforts is corporate giving rates from health insurance providers and participation in charitable activity among respective executives (i.e. direct giving, board participation, etc.).

This information needs to be distributed to members (organizations and individuals) with the goal of injecting it into public discourse. Does Being Careless Before Supper Insurance have offices in your city? Great, that means jobs but what about their corporate giving record and how involved (in a meaningful way) are their executives as donors and board members throughout the greater arts community.

It would be interesting to see what sort of report card could be constructed with this data and how it could be leveraged to shape behavior. If this sort of activity is alien to your community, don’t allow that to lull you into a mindset that it doesn’t exist; for example, here in Chicago, Chicago Magazine examines the philanthropic efforts among what it defines as the most powerful Chicagoans (we examined this a few years back). Imagine the how much more we would see articles like this if journalists had access to readily available and reliable statistics.

In the end, these are all variations on the same theme simply implemented via different points of contact and the more time you spend considering options in your community, the more likely you can modify those here to be more effective based on your environment or even identify new options.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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