Buying Healthcare vs. Buying Health Insurance

Saw an interesting poster in a subway station as I was on a train. It whizzed by so I didn't see the name of the brand. But what it said was that for $79.99 per month you could purchase healthcare with unlimited doctor visits, coverage of standard procedures (Gyn, electro cardiograms, colonoscopy, etc.) and discounts on prescriptions, and no copay.

But was interesting to me is that it said: "This is not INSURANCE." And that somehow struck me. When we think about healthcare as insurance, we naturally think about reacting to an incident, not preventative maintenance. We think about fault and liability, not compassion and treatment. We think it as something that is optional, a hedge, not something people have a right to. We think about it as a money matter, not a life matter with all the pain, profound limitation and fundamental fear associated with it.

Framing the conversation is key. The words we use have both subtle and overt consequences to the ideas we are thinking about, like renaming the estate tax the "death tax."

Take a step back. What we are really purchasing is healthcare, not insurance. How does that affect the way you think the industry should work?

It's not what you say, it's how you say it

I continue to be reminded in every day conversations both in business and socially that how you demonstrate the idea is almost as important as the idea itself. And with the struggles we have in healthcare, the economy and the environment, it's almost impossible to see the big picture.

Is 1 trillion dollars enough of a stimulus package? Does cutting 1.5% of health care cost growth save the system? How important is domestic recycling to the problem of waste management (Answer: domestic waste is 1/70th of industrial waste).

As annoying as the UPS commercials are, they do show the power of graphical teaching through video. Here's an even better example, one that predated UPS's chalkboard that brilliantly explains the environmental challenges we face.

Einstein once responded to a woman's questions about math, "Do not worry about your difficulties with math. I assure you mine are greater." The focus being on the untold complexity of Einstein's understanding. Instead, think about the relative simplicity of the woman's mathematical model.

With ideas as groundbreaking as we are throwing around, how do you let people build simple, comprehensible understandings of things that are complex beyond their reach?

Perot did it with chicken farming in Arkansas. Gore did it with global warming. And TED does it with everything. Shouldn't we be creating video presentations rather than press releases and press conferences?

PS Let me reiterate check out