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Lemonade from Lemons

Making Lemonade from Lemons

Forget about the cratered launch of ObamaCare. There is one sign of life still among the rubble. That sign of life is the free market.

There are any number of new companies that have sprung up to take advantage of gaps in the sprawling new law.

Extend Health, Inc. is a start-up that launched one of the first private insurance exchanges. Last year it was sold for nearly a half billion dollars.

How about Castlight Health? Their products put the transparency back into healthcare costs so consumers and employers can make more informed decisions about their costs and healthcare utilization.

And there’s Benefitter, Inc., whose software and support products help employers and their workers navigate the murky waters of Affordable Care Act regulations.

All of these entrepreneurs share one thing: They saw a big change coming and decided to manageit, rather than being managed by it.

At Chaddsford Planning Associates we’ve been part of a similar phenomenon. In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton pledged to “end welfare as we know it.” 

The cry against welfare reform, passed by Congress in 1996, was not unlike what we’ve seen with the Affordable Care Act. Each was a radical re-working of the social safety net.

I launched Chaddsford Planning the following year to take advantage of the fact that states, recipients and the private sector were facing a compliance issue with very little in the way of support.

Our first client was a trade association representing the food retailing industry. That was followed by another lobbying group representing the financial industry. Then came a major transaction processor. And a group of states. Then more states. And an equipment manufacturer. Then a company from France wanting to take advantage of its experience supplying product to that country’s social safety net. And then an Asian company wanting to sell to Hispanic Americans. And on and on.

The business environment changes all the time. If you’re a business you either take advantage of that, or be taken advantage of. That transaction processor? We helped develop two products that threw off $25 million in the first six months. The equipment manufacturer? A contract for 10,000 units within the first four months.

During the past 16 years we’ve helped more than 30 states plan for the adoption of electronic payment technology to replace their outdated paper benefit payment systems. All part of modernizing how we delivery social benefits. 

The next time change hits your business, tackle the problems it creates,  but don't stop there. Look for the opportunities that change can create for you.

As for the Affordable Care Act, who would have thought that a law, which at its core essentially converts one-sixth of the U.S. economy into a public utility, could rile up the animal instincts of the free market?

Welcome to America!