Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Health Insurance will get worse before it gets better

While the US is the only wealthy western country without universal health care (even Brazil has it), and the number of uninsured continues to climb, it will continue to get worse until far more middle class people feel the pain. Most of what has been proposed simply applies Bandaids to the problem. Few are prepared to blow the current system up and start from scratch. Few are prepared to take on the very strong lobbies of pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies and health care providers simultaneously. Whether the country uses a single payer system like the UK and Canada do, or a tightly regulated insurance company managed one as in France or Germany, it will require major change. Even in France and Germany, insurance companies cannot turn anyone down, vary price by pre-existing conditions or age, or refuse reimbursement, which makes them the same as a single payer system in effect.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The "black hole" of leads management

In every industry, in every company, it is difficult to track the progress of leads through the sales process to closing. However good the CRM system, the issue is always a human one. While it may be in the company's interest to track leads, for most sales people it is not in their best interest to complete the data entry. They have little to gain and they lose time and perhaps information which they would rather keep for themselves. In many industries, a sales person's Rolodex is their biggest asset, so they would rather build their own personal database than the company's.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Education Business

Visiting colleges with my daughter this summer has been an educational experience. It is clear that higher education in the US has become more and more of business, much like health care. While this change is happening in other countries - just note how aggressively they court foreign students who tend to pay higher fees - it is less so. The reason is that as in health care, the US is the only Western country in which higher education is so divided into private and public. Even Universities like Oxford and Cambridge, which American perceive as private, actually receive about one third of their funding from the Government. This enable the Government to exert much more influence over them than it can over a US private university. So the salaries of star academics, star administrators, and star fund-raisers continue to climb as do the fees.