Watching and Waiting

Needless to say the next 100 days prior to our national election are going to be interesting.  I am not looking forward to the nasty campaigning and rhetoric, which will spew half-truths and continue to reinforce the ideologies of the parties’ stalwarts.  Yet, the upcoming election will effect how our country deals with health care.  On one side of the equation, progressives feel that the AHCA (Obamacare if you wish) will solve many problems with the care of those who are not insured, or have medical issues.  On the other side, we have a cacophony of voices concerned about government mandates and how are we going to pay for this.

I am worried about who’s going to pay for it.

I was speaking to one of our members recently.  He was truly concerned about how his company will be able to pay for the mandates required by AHCA.  He does not pay for dependent coverage and pays for 70% of the employee’s coverage – which is very typical of many small businesses in the industry.  “The mandates will take us from being a profitable firm to an unprofitable one immediately,” he stated.  The printing industry which tends to have margins similar to many manufacturers is just one of many which will be affected.  Does this mean firms will go out of business – some may – but as a whole most will survive, but it may be because they will prefer to pay the “penalties” for not providing insurance coverage and let their employees buy coverage from the exchanges.  It will be an alternative for survival for many businesses with more than 50 employees.

The result will be individuals becoming acutely aware of the cost of health care.  Yes, they will be provided coverage which in the past may have been missing (older children, no limits on health coverage, no pre-existing conditions, etc.), but now it will be their household budget absorbing the continuously increasing costs of health care.

In the long-term this may be a shift of responsibility many of us have argued for (get employer’s out of health care), but the immediate reality in 2014 and 2015 will be an eye-opener for many.  And maybe at that time, we can have a rational discussion of what it will take to rein in health care in the United States.

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