Tag Archives: health care reform

Regulation: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

True story: A fortune 500 company implements a new wellness plan for employees. It’s designed by consultants who use the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as a template. Workers are incentivized to get regular exercise, quit smoking and lose weight; with … Continue reading

Posted in Business Perspectives, Entrepreneurship, John's Opinions, Managing Employees, Politics and Regulation, Strategy and Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Response to Regulation: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  1. Frank Benzoni P.E. Retired says:


    Welcome back – and as usual another great article – batting 1000


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Ode to a Hunter

I’m sure you would all be disappointed if I didn’t return with some sort of business allegory related to my absence. Of course, I hate to disappoint… My book Hunting in a Farmer’s World focuses on the challenges of being … Continue reading

Posted in Entrepreneurship, John's Opinions, Leadership | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

10 Responses to Ode to a Hunter

  1. Ed Kleinman says:

    I very happy to hear of your brilliantly orchestrated recovery.
    Your remarks about the latent “hunter” in the many diligent, systems driven “farming” executives out there that consistently read your blog will be most welcome. Glad to have you back in the saddle.

  2. Oswald Viva says:

    I am so glad that you defeated the illness. Having just gone through a scary episode myself I know the impact it can have in you and your family. My wishes for a complete recovery.

  3. John,

    I was alarmed to hear of your medical issue, and I’m so happy that you are on the road to recovery. As usual, you have nailed several essential truths about business and life – I don’t know where we’d all be without you.

    Keep getting better!


  4. Carol says:

    Thank God for someone willing to go “outside of the box!”

    Take care.

  5. Rusty says:


    I’m glad to hear you are on the road to recovery.. I think your story points out another aspect of being a hunter – even hunters need someone to watch out for them. Hunters can oftentimes have a “hero” mentality. I noticed that Leila was the one who made the call to the doctor to get you worked in…probably against your protests that it wasn’t necessary.

    Good to see you back in the saddle.


  6. Gerald Stowers says:

    Hey bud, only you..on your death bed…could come up with such a good story about your illness. Glad you are still with us, you had us worried.

    Looking forward to our next Gerald-Rita.

  7. Dr bernie Schayes says:

    Glad you have recovered John-you have a great doctor

  8. Bob Dodge says:

    We are all blessed that you are still with us.

  9. Lindsay Allen says:

    John, so glad you are on the road to recovery. Like you I had a similar episode in 2008. And like you, my wife (a true Farmer) made me go to the emergency room. Turned out, I had a staff infection. My body functions were beginning to break down (kidneys, liver). The Kidney specialist that saw me said I probably would have died that night had I not gone to the ER that morning. I’m so glad that Farmers sometime know what’s best, even though us Hunters sometimes think we can take on anything. Best of luck with the rest of your recovery.

    Take care!


  10. Mike Wheeler says:

    Happy to hear you are now doing well!

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Iron Rice Bowls and the Impact of Government Funding

  There was an interesting editorial item in The Economist that unintentionally says a lot about the impact of government intervention on industry. In the last generation, the average number of working hours needed to purchase an automobile, clothing or other … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Trends, John's Opinions, Politics and Regulation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

11 Responses to Iron Rice Bowls and the Impact of Government Funding

  1. craig eastman says:

    We must never let our guard down.

  2. David Basri says:

    While I completely concur with the article with respect to education and housing, healthcare is a different beast entirely. The United States has by far the least efficient healthcare system of any developed country because of a deficiency of government involvement, not an over-abundance of it.

    By depending on a vastly greater level of market-based forces, instead of control, the U.S. has created a monster. This is because healthcare by definition does not work on market principles. When any individual’s health is at stake they do not care what it costs, they just want to be treated. That means the suppliers have total coercive control over the “market”.

    Can anything realistically be called a market when it a) is difficult or impossible to even determine what a product costs before it is purchased; and b) there is not really choice about whether it should be purchased? Do you operate that way in any other aspect of your life?

    U.S. healthcare has evolved to a level of insanity beyond what even a pure market system might produce. The stakeholders: people, providers, insurers, employers, state government and the federal government all have competing interests. The result is that if you are lucky in terms of employment, insurance, income and location, you might get absolutely world class healthcare. If not, you might get none at all. Meanwhile the entire system thrashes against itself creating unbelievable inefficiency and overhead, resulting in costs 3 to 4 times higher than necessary. Small example: our local hospital system has 12 executives making over a million a year.

    ANY other business operating this way would have been bankrupt a very long time ago. Some things should not be market driven. I submit access to roads, clean water and healthcare for starters.

    I would say, “Don’t get me started. . . .” but too late for that.

    • John F. Dini says:

      Well stated, David, although I don’t entirely agree. Correcting healthcare won’t come from further government intervention. The competing special interests you mentioned hold too much sway over Congress. They will never address the twisted incentives that drive the system, where unnecessary work (both direct care and regulatory) makes everyone more money.

  3. Jeff Shapiro says:

    To take the average working hours concept a step further: (1) the average working hours to purchase an automobile has decreased, yet vehicles haven’t remained static — they’re loaded with many more safety, comfort, and entertainment features today than ever before; (2) a student leaves school with about the same amount of basic knowledge today compared to say the ’70s or ’80s and pays considerably more.

    • Jeff Garvens says:

      Don’t forget (3) healthcare: The amount we SPEND on healthcare is up considerably, but the value we receive is up considerably too. I agree healthcare isn’t a normal marketplace, but 40 years ago we did not have the choice to have life saving and life improving MRIs, Cat scans, organ transplants and many prescription drugs. All of those innovations come with a cost.

      As the slice of our income pie needed for basic needs shrinks, the rest of the pie necessarily grows. If not to healthcare, housing and education, then to where? Smaller homes with larger flat screen TV’s?

      • David Basri says:

        My issue is not with MRIs, medical technology, research or even prescription drugs (though that is also an outrageous “market”), or anything else that directly relates to delivering healthcare. I get riled up over the incredibly high overhead, inefficiency and waste. These are the direct result of competing interests and multiple layers of profit motivated entities exploiting a distorted system.

        For example, billions of dollars are spent annually on prescription drug advertising. That is entirely a function of profit motive, not any objective to improve health. If everyone had access to preventive care on a regular basis, decisions about prescription drugs would be made by doctors and patients discussing someone’s health, not a TV or magazine ad.

        Add to that the fact that a significant portion of the population has limited or no access to healthcare, and the overall situation is just plain dumb.

  4. David Basri says:

    Sadly, your response is entirely correct.

  5. Thanks for introducing me to the Iron Rice Bowl concept. You guys in the beltway and Washington DC area, it is time to listen up!

    When will we bring back an objective money standard, i.e., gold or silver?

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Turning a Competitive Advantage into an Entitlement

The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Although Republicans have voted to repeal Obamacare dozens of times, the “debate” over its implementation has taken on a sense of theatre. The Federal behemoth continues to chug along. Cancelled policies, the … Continue reading

Posted in Business Perspectives, John's Opinions, Managing Employees, Politics and Regulation, Strategy and Planning | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

One Response to Turning a Competitive Advantage into an Entitlement

  1. A agree that it will cease to differentiate in the small-medium size business market.
    Recently I have been dealing w the issue if health care w my clients even though it isn’t a focus of my services, they are truly in the dark as to what is the best method to employ going forward.
    I fully believe the new standard will be for owners to push the employees to the exchanges. Pressure to provide insurance (in the past) had been from two points directions; 1- the desire to benefit the employee and 2- competition for the better employee. What we see larger size companies taking advantage if lower hours eliminating the required costs for a all vs the providing for the ones owners deem worthy.
    New world will be where small to medium size employers will cease providing insurance as a benefit because as you have said it no longer sets them apart and there is no residual value.

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Can Small Business Survive Federal Regulation?

It has always been tough to start a business, but as Niall Ferguson points out in his excellent article “How America Lost Its Way” in the Wall Street Journal, it’s getting tougher. According to an annual survey by the World Bank, in only … Continue reading

Posted in Entrepreneurship, John's Opinions, Managing Employees, Politics and Regulation | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Can Small Business Survive Federal Regulation?

  1. Jeff Ostroff says:

    Totally agree with the criminal background check. not just a right but practically a necessity. who would want to hire an embezzler to be your accountant, right? we get to check everything else on a resume’ or application, but not whether they broke the law? By the time an employer does the background check they have already passed the point of a judgement based on color, race, etc if in fact they were narrow minded enough to allow that to enter into their hiring decision.

    Disagree on healthcare. everyone deserves it and while the current law sucks it was the best our representatives could come up with considering their primary objective is always political, not about the people they represent. A lot of great ideas were shot down based solely on rhetoric, unsupported assumptions and lies as facts. (BTW, i pay 90% of my employees’ healthcare)

    • John F. Dini says:

      Good for you, Jeff. I also pay the cost of my full time employees’ health insurance. I’ve been to countries where there is nothing provided for the poor, and they aren’t places I would choose to live. My problem is with criminalizing an employer’s decision to contain expenses (pointing out that the law includes provisions to cover those who don’t come under their employer’s policy, which is then paid through taxes). I have 2 part-time employees. If I had to pay their coverage as well, I’d have to pay substantially less to everyone. At the very least, I’d be less able to attract the quality of folks that currently work for me. I think those should be my decisions.

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