The Unmanageability of Managed Care & How We Can Do Better

I enjoy Matt Chabe’s blog the Holistic Marketer. Matt is a talented and insightful guy who really knows his trade. I applaud his integrity in making even his unpopular views public. In his most recent blog he writes:

“Profitable companies are not humanist entities; they are decidedly very capitalist. That’s not going to change. Becoming a profitable organization is a delicate tightrope walk, and demanding organizations to pay a “more fair” wage to anyone is not a panacea to anything.”

These points seem indisputable. No one can contest that the largest and most profitable of corporations are indeed decidedly capitalist. There is no question that corporations have responsibilities to their shareholders and perhaps ethically those responsibilities supersede the importance of being fair to employees. While it’s largely true that “profitable companies are not humanist entities”, many of us recognize that the two need not be mutually exclusive and indeed, ought not to be.

I agree with Matt that there’s little point in protesting the policies of giant corporations. Trying to convince Wal Mart to grow a soul and pay people fairly is like trying to get a sociopath to acquire a conscience and practice altruism. If you want to change Wal Mart, don’t shop there. If you want to change the world, consider that we’ve been going about this all wrong.

I dig the inverse of what Matt’s saying – humanistic companies are not profitable. Rather than trying to get the places we want to do business with to be human, we can support the mission of companies that strike a balance between being human and offering quality goods and prices at competitive prices.

One of the relatively few glaring exceptions to the rule of giant corporations – Google’s Code of Conduct, which is delightfully centered upon the notion, “Don’t Be Evil.”

Few things in this world are more evil than managed health care and it’s been profitably thriving for decades. I’ve been working within that system for a long time and here’s what I notice: Insurance companies pay the same amount for mediocre outcomes as they pay for outstanding outcomes.

The least discussed and most debilitating aspect of quality healthcare is this: Most of us in the healing and helping professions are unhealthy people. We come from unhealthy families and we struggle very disproportionately with mental health and addictions. The simple truth is that we tend not to treat each other well and this has an enormous impact on the people we serve directly and indirectly.

The healthcare counterpoint to “Don’t be evil” could be “Don’t stay sick.” Committing to this ideal and resolving our hypocrisy (promoting the health of others while ignoring or destroying our own) will make us not only more effective, but also more profitable. It will also allow us to move away from subconsciously recreating the dynamics of our family of origin in the workplace and instead allow us to cultivate environments that are conducive to the healing of all people.

Let’s own our identities as wounded healers and in so doing create opportunities to be works in progress. Let’s move away from competitive models and toward mutual support. Let’s create the companies we always wanted to work for.

 

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.