At The Admin American, our purpose is to discuss federal issues affecting employee benefits in a way that is productive for employers and their professional advisors. To that end, we intend to avoid political advocacy to the extent possible. While we agree that there is a place for advocacy (and we rigorously participate in other forums), it is not our intention that The Admin America be such a place. By limiting posts to our core purpose, we hope to be more valuable to our readers.
For us, part of remaining apolitical is avoiding loaded verbiage. For example, we believe that the term “ObamaCare” is a term best reserved for advocacy as opposed to information. Likewise, we won’t use terms such as “Death Panels” or “the 1%” or “the rich”. Beyond promoting editorial objectivity within the Admin American, we believe reducing political discussion would benefit most benefits advisors as well.
Elizabeth Calentine’s editor’s letter in this month’s “Employee Benefits Advisor” well articulates why words matter for benefits professionals in speaking with their clients. You can access her letter here: http://digital.employeebenefitadviser.com/employeebenefitadviser/201203#pg6.
The Admin American has actually observed an unfortunate advisor / client situation that well supports Ms. Calentine’s point. For one advisor I work with occassionally, I believe the situation cost her agency a group client. Last year, I was at an open enrollment. During a break between sessions, the advisor whose agency had brought our firm in to provide FSA services was speaking with a like minded human resources officer about how bad PPACA is and how ignorant those who are not demanding its repeal must be. Unfortunately for the advisor (and maybe for the human resources officer) the company’s owner (who apparently supports many provisons of PPACA) was also standing there with us. She didn’t say anything at the time but simply observed the conversation along with me. Later that morning, the owner pulled me aside and asked me if the advisor’s unprofessionalism was typical of the agent community. I don’t know if my uncertain response contributed to the AOR our firm received later in the year regarding the client’s new agency but I suspect there wasn’t much I could have done to rescue the advisor at that point. So far our firm has been able to retain the case through the new agent. I suspect my silence in the situation spared me the same fate as the advisor.
After reading Ms. Calentine’s article, it occured to me I should share the story above with our staff. I probably should share it with the advisor’s agency as well but that is an ethical question that I might reserve for another post some day.