Readers Write (March 19): Health care exchange, Best Buy, Westonka, hunting, 'Jeopardy,' the pope

  • Updated: March 18, 2013 - 7:53 PM

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Health care

The key components of the state’s exchange

The Sept. 10 commentary “State has to get its health exchange right” offered three important suggestions:

• First, the “active purchaser” option would allow the commission to set standards and proper limits on the number of companies listed. Uwe Reinhardt, a respected health care economist from Princeton, put it this way a few years ago: “The more choices one has, the greater the chance of making a bad choice.”

• Also, the members of the commission have to meet strict conflict-of-interest standards. Health care and insurance professionals can certainly present their best faces, but they should not be making the decisions.

• Finally, the commission needs to be supported financially, at least in part, by reasonable participation fees. An exchange is not going to reduce health care costs by itself.

These days, even those of us in the profession have all kinds of trouble figuring out how much the organization bills for services and how much those “retail” prices are discounted by the insurers and government programs.

At the same time, health care professionals work hard, try sincerely to help people and deserve a decent income. Unfortunately, it takes lots of them to do the job. Those top executive salaries and “perks” are really a small part of the total.

Dr. Robert E. Doan, Plymouth

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The workplace

Ending employee flexibility is a cop-out

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly’s defense for ending the “Results-Only Work Environment” employs the tortured logic we often see from public figures as they try to distance themselves from their own statements and policy decisions after seeing how awful they look in print (“Let me clarify my thoughts on leading,” March 18).

Despite Joly’s claims, ROWE is not a leadership style. It is a flex scheduling/telecommuting option, similar to that at many other companies. It provides an option to help employees be productive and maintain a good work-life balance. Joly falsely claims that it depends on delegation only and is therefore not always appropriate. As an example, he states that a manager should not delegate to him the job of building a wall, because he would do a poor job of it. That’s probably true, but only a poor leader delegates a task to an employee who has no chance of success.

Most forward-thinking companies recognize that effective leaders weave together a variety of techniques, including coaching, motivating, directing and even delegating — all at the same time, and dependent on the person, the role and the task. The move away from flex scheduling and telecommuting is not leadership, but rather lazy management. Instead of hiring and training the right employees for the job and providing clear goals and objectives for which they are accountable, Joly prefers the easy measure of performance based on whether your butt is in a chair from 8 to 5.

Greg Schultz, Rosemount

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