A Thought on Future Medical Care

With all the great hand wringing about future medical care in this country…from those that see Medicare for all as the best (certainly that would be the cheapest…no overhead for sales and marketing, no profit…and yes, they characterize it differently, but non-profits have ‘profits’ and big bonuses for the upper management) or those who want Medicare privatized in the future (vastly more profits due to a bigger user pool for the insurers, and more money flowing into investment accounts for Wall Street to play with), here’s a thought that may not have been factored in to the equation.

In the past generation, there was a substantial percentage of wives in married couples…whether stay-at-home or work outside the home women…who spent their golden years taking care of their husbands. This is something a lot of us witnessed first hand…without Mom making sure her husband got his 25 pills a day on time, and taking him to the doctors at the drop of a hat, he certainly would have died 15 years earlier than he did. The victim of a stroke, this former surgeon was not capable of doing these things himself. The same was true in my family of an uncle who had a debilitating disease.

The issue is: with half of all adults divorced, and women much less inclined to wait on and attend to men in their later years than before, how will this affect the cost of health care? It’s common knowledge that most men don’t tend to their health the way women do anyway. How will all these either single or married and pretty well on their own men jack up costs when they wait until things are really bad before seeking care? It may not be emergency room care with its astronomical cost, but it will certainly be much more expensive than catching problems early and treating them aggressively.

This could be an unseen bomb just waiting to blow up costs down the road. While I am of the camp that believes universal health care is inevitable…all the developed countries in the world but the US already has it…this would be a fly in the ointment no matter which course we take.

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Formal Meetings- Have Less, Learn More

After reading an article about a good place to work (as described by a CEO), it seems another viewpoint should be raised. This tech CEO was big on training, and had a rule that every manager had to meet with his or her people 1:1 on a regular basis. Apparently, one day, he found that a manager hadn’t had any of these in 6 months.

The CEO has a come to Jesus meeting and explains why he wants this, and says if it doesn’t happen he’ll have no recourse but to fire the people. Now that, of course, is his prerogative as the CEO…having things run your way always is when you are top management.

I haven’t been a CEO of a large company…but I ran a small one on pure positive cash flow for 10 years, and tripled sales and doubled gross profits. I rarely ever had a meeting. As a customer who had been at a large company, had a Ph.D and taught business courses in his ‘retirement’ noted, I practiced management by walking around.

This was true. Every hour of every day, I made the rounds. It’s simple, and works better than meetings. Go out on to the showroom floor and chat with the sales people. Head to the shop and talk with the technicians. Ask them how it’s going, and if there’s anything they need that will make things work more smoothly. You can’t always promise they’ll get those changes, but you ALWAYS know what’s going on, and they know that you are concerned and will try your best to get them what they need. Sometimes, jump in and help and get your hands dirty! Yes, I ruined more than a few dress shirts, ties, and slacks doing this, but the boost to morale was well worth it.

It’s not always true, but as a general rule, you learn a lot more and get a lot more done from management by walking around than from formal meetings. BTW, Mr. Tech CEO I didn’t name…a close friend of mine is a CEO of a company that sells goods that is 1000 times larger than your company and has been in business since the 20’s…guess what? He practices management by walking around too.