“Can’t Fall Further From the Floor”

I have been coaching baseball in San Carlos for more than 20 years now. The group that I have coached for the last 10 years is the age group for 13 and 14-year-olds. They are at the moment in their athletic lives when they start to get serious about baseball. They start to have much more of a focus on winning and becoming better players, but the game also becomes a little bit bigger than it was in Little League. There are more things happening on the field. During the first year of play at that level, it can become a bit overwhelming, daunting and confusing.

I was thinking back on the other day when we had our first pre-season game and did not play very well. We were talking to the boys afterwards, and one of my coaches told them, “Hey listen, the bad news is the game. The good news is you can’t fall any further from the floor. You’re already there.” The reason he mentioned poor performance was because it was not a good game, so needed to acknowledge the poor performance, but we also have a lot of ability. We talked about the opportunities that happened in the game that were good, and we discussed how we could take our game from the floor and build up so that over the course of the season we become better so that they would not recognize themselves at the end of the season as they do right now.

We like to focus on the opportunity to begin at floor and improve. The same analogy absolutely applies to today’s small to midsize employers with regard to their health insurance plans. The government is coming at us with a huge amount of regulation at both the state and at federal levels. To absorb the regulation and create a clear path is probably the hardest thing for small to midsize employers to do. They have to run their business. They still have to manage their employees. They still have to sell their product or accomplish whatever it is that they do while assimilating all this new regulation and information for which they have to be responsible. Quite frankly, they cannot fall any further from the floor at this point in time. We are available as their coach to help them manage this huge amount of change. We can help employers build upon it over time so that it becomes clearer to them and so they become more comfortable with it. It is important that employers feel confident that they are in compliance, and ultimately, that they feel like they have direction for how to strategically take advantage of the opportunities within health care reform that they probably would not have seen before.