The broker vote
By Kathryn Mayer
Don’t hate me.
Recent comments — you know, like the ones calling for my job — have made me a little gun shy about reporting anything to do with politics. But I couldn’t resist for my latest story talking about the broker vote.
Politics — and this year’s presidential election, in particular — has been an extremely touchy issue for our readers. During the past couple of months, our BenefitsPro stories have earned a lot of backlash. Anytime a report argued PPACA had done a good thing, or that Obama was ahead on health care issues or someone compared costs between the candidates’ health care plans, we’d hear about it. We often were blamed on which way the polls were going. Depending on the day, we were accused of being either Obama lovers or GOP propagandists.
I understand why there’s been so much aggression or passion or whatever word you might use to describe it: As I wrote, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in many ways, threatens the livelihoods of brokers and agents across the country. In that case, it’s hard to justify voting for the president—the guy who made all this happen.
But is that the only side? Within a community of hundreds of thousands of people, there had to be a couple of people who planned on voting for Obama—and we wanted to find them.
For my story, Anatomy of a vote, I talked to an excessive amount of people over the past couple weeks, and I kept repeating the same question: Do you think you can be a good broker in the business and still vote for Obama (and hence, health reform), or do you think everyone in the biz will be voting for Romney to try to stop the law? Is voting for Obama dooming yourself and your job or not?
As suspected, there were a lot of people who argued that a good broker can’t vote for Obama.
“If it were up to solely our industry’s business ambitions, Romney would surely become the next president,” one told me.
Then there were the Obama supporters. Though I talked to a number of them, only a couple let me put them on record. I felt for them — while everyone else was opening up, and loudly, about their choice of candidate — they wanted to keep their mouths shut for fear of persecution from fellow agents.
Some of my favorite interviews were the ones who argued it was their vote and no one else’s — and no matter what it was, they shouldn’t feel ashamed.
Perhaps more importantly, some spoke up about fate being in your own hands. If you’re convinced it’s over, then at least for you, it probably is.
“The only broker who fears a changing administration is a broker who's stuck in their old ways,” says Troy Underwood, CEO of Benefits Connect. “Americans are the most entrepreneurial people the world has ever produced. Smart health insurance brokers will be resourceful enough to adapt to the changing environment. “
We can argue that no political environment has changed the industry as much as this one. That’s true. But aren’t we in a constant state of change? Technology, people, jobs, our own lives — so many factors come into play, and the truth is, we can’t help it and we can’t ignore it.
It’s a lot easier to complain and yell at people who have different beliefs than you. But it certainly doesn’t help anything. Admitting defeat before trying something new is weak and shortsighted.
And just days before the election, at least there’s one thing we can all do: Vote. Just maybe keep your mouth shut about who you cast it for.