Note to screechy members of Congress shouting, “Repeal Obamacare!”
Relax. Go for a long drive. Remember to buckle up, and while buckling, remember this:
The Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare” will shake out exactly as mandatory seat-belts did.
Once upon a time cars were made without seat belts. However, after years of agreeing with lobbyists from the auto industry, government officials finally decreed the installation of seat belts into new cars would become mandatory.
There was an immediate hue and cry from corporations was led by none other than Lee Iacocca, the Allentown, PA, civil engineer turned marketing whiz.
The back story
Iacocca’s battle cry had long been, “Safety doesn’t sell.”
Thus it was through his intensive, “it’s bad for business” marketing and lobbying against seat-belts, that Iacocca became an industry icon for his “death panel” appraisal of human life.
Iacocca also claimed mandatory seat-belts were too expensive and would ruin the auto industry.
Although it seems strange now, the public mostly accepted the lobbyist party line seat belts would both make cars too expensive, and impinge our personal freedom.
So year after year the lobbyists ruled Washington. Until the year government officials came to theirs senses.
Iacocca’s auto-industry paid lobbyists scored a partial victory when government agreed to delaying the implementation of mandatory seat-belts for four years.
Imagine my surprise upon discovering decades later, the story of seatbelts had completely flipped.
Turns out, Iacocca was a brilliant marketer
Yes, years after intensely lobbying against seat belts, Iacocca, head of Chrysler, turned around and beat the lobbied-for delay of installation.
By two years.
Chrysler then rolled out unto the airwaves a huge ad campaign for seat-belts. Newspaper columns were filled with seat-belt stories featuring Chrysler as a company which wanted to a nation of car buyers to know Chrysler really cared about their customer’s safety.
Iacocca was hailed as a hero by reporters who apparently, had no sense of history. Iacocca later to become known as: “The Man Who Saved Chrysler.”
No mention Iacocca was also the guy responsible for thousands of seat-belt preventable deaths. No mention it on Wiki, either.
Iacocca’s auto-biography likewise included no mention of his lobbying against seat belts, or authorizing millions for lobbyists to kill the seat-belt lobby.
One more thing about Iacocca.
Before Chrysler, Iacocca was head of Ford…and the head cheerleader for the Pinto. Otherwise known as the “Flame-mobile” for its exploding gas tanks after 5mph rear-end crashes.
Lessons learned from the seat-belt controversy
History does repeat itself.
Smart health care providers are already gearing up their marketing efforts to target the middle-class masses, and those with much less.
Smart providers will introduce insurance plans well ahead of the four year deadline.
Why? Because screeching aside, it makes good business sense. Some programs about to be offered will be good; others, not so much.
So read the fine print.
One last thing
When choosing the program which best suits your needs, do so with a nod towards our Chief Justice, John Roberts, for taking the long view, and as a man who is aware of the marketing the history of American corporations.
Kinda makes me wonder if Justice Roberts ever owned a Pinto.