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Local View: Does anything work anymore?

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1606888","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"120","title":"Tom Wheeler ","width":"101"}}]]In December, I had a column published in the News Tribune decrying customer service as...


In December, I had a column published in the News Tribune decrying customer service as an oxymoron and that big business treats us as consumers and not as customers. Getting questions answered and getting something fixed can be a frustrating, maddening undertaking, reflecting a big-business lack of genuine care and concern. My suggestion for a solution: shop at locally owned businesses. Equally frustrating, if not more so, has been the decline in government services, whether legislative, administrative, or with regard to infrastructure (or the lack thereof). Consider the awful example of Obamacare. Remember its botched rollout? Remember the passage of the law strictly along party lines? Remember House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”? Remember President Barack Obama’s “If you like your doctor (or your health plan), you can keep (it)”? TV anchor Brian Williams was removed for far less. Now we are getting word that multiple mishaps have occurred at the state level. The health exchanges are malfunctioning. And there are cost overruns, delays, consultants indicating we voters are too dumb to grasp legislative nuances, and more. These are scary times when we can see little good and when solutions seem elusive. Certainly it’s a good thing that more people have health insurance and that health histories are no longer cause for declination of coverage. How about uniform coverage with high-, low- and mid-level benefit options? How about incentives rather than penalties for patients, providers and other parties? How about enrollment procedures and tax and claim forms that are actually user-friendly? With so much fodder, where are the Republicans? They continue to play obstructionist instead of making worthy, thoughtful suggested reforms and instead of re-instilling confidence. Too few folks feel good about the state of the union. The examples being set by government, by big business and by political parties need to improve. Are they listening? Do they care? Aren’t we taxpayers, citizens, constituents, consumers and customers worthy of things that work? Tom Wheeler is a longtime Duluth-area businessman, civic leader, philanthropist and regular contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page.
In December, I had a column published in the News Tribune decrying customer service as an oxymoron and that big business treats us as consumers and not as customers. Getting questions answered and getting something fixed can be a frustrating, maddening undertaking, reflecting a big-business lack of genuine care and concern.My suggestion for a solution: shop at locally owned businesses.Equally frustrating, if not more so, has been the decline in government services, whether legislative, administrative, or with regard to infrastructure (or the lack thereof).Consider the awful example of Obamacare. Remember its botched rollout? Remember the passage of the law strictly along party lines? Remember House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”? Remember President Barack Obama’s “If you like your doctor (or your health plan), you can keep (it)”? TV anchor Brian Williams was removed for far less.Now we are getting word that multiple mishaps have occurred at the state level. The health exchanges are malfunctioning. And there are cost overruns, delays, consultants indicating we voters are too dumb to grasp legislative nuances, and more. These are scary times when we can see little good and when solutions seem elusive.Certainly it’s a good thing that more people have health insurance and that health histories are no longer cause for declination of coverage. How about uniform coverage with high-, low- and mid-level benefit options? How about incentives rather than penalties for patients, providers and other parties? How about enrollment procedures and tax and claim forms that are actually user-friendly?With so much fodder, where are the Republicans? They continue to play obstructionist instead of making worthy, thoughtful suggested reforms and instead of re-instilling confidence.Too few folks feel good about the state of the union. The examples being set by government, by big business and by political parties need to improve. Are they listening? Do they care? Aren’t we taxpayers, citizens, constituents, consumers and customers worthy of things that work?Tom Wheeler is a longtime Duluth-area businessman, civic leader, philanthropist and regular contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page.

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