The Vestavia Chamber of Commerce in Birmingham, AL hosted a panel discussion on the current Healthcare legislation with Fi Plan Partner’s President and CEO Greg Powell, Brookwood Medical Center President and CEO Gary Gause, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Vice President, Legal Services Mike Patterson. With a record crowd in attendance, Jack Nelson, Professor at Cumberland School of Law, presented a summary overview of the current legislation and the panel took turns presenting their assessment and impact on Americans.
Greg Powell brought into focus the critical impact this Healthcare legislation will have on the economy as a whole and small businesses. Here are the main points that Greg made:
- There are grave concerns that we as a nation cannot afford this type of legislation. Already, Medicare as a government program is facing more than 30 trillion dollars in debt. It isn’t possible for the Federal government to continue to spend billions of dollars when there are 77 million Baby Boomers about to enroll in the program over the next 2 decades. To emphasize the severity, you can download a report called the “Moment of Truth” by the National Commission On Fiscal Responsibility and Reform appointed by President Obama. Erskine Bowles, who headed up the commission with former Senator Alan Simpson, has stated that we could have double digit growth in this country over the next two decades and with this we still cannot grow our way out of debt. Their report recommends cuts of up to 4 trillion dollars in deficit reduction through 2020, and that does not take the Healthcare bill into consideration.
- Not only can we not afford this as a country, small businesses need to understand that many of the claimed benefits in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) really do not help small businesses. This new healthcare law pretends to provide substantial assistance to small businesses but actually, according to the Congressional Budget Office, these tax credit provisions would benefit only 12% of small businesses. It discourages small businesses from crossing the 50 employee threshold which activates additional employer mandates and enforcement penalties. One also has to read the fine print when told that their plan can be grandfathered in to protect it. The reality is that the employer has to fit into a straight jacket and limit the changes it can make to its existing plan. Something as simple as a change in co-payment could lose grandfather status and force the employer to comply with costly mandates. Federal regulators estimate that by 2013, only about 1 in 5 small employers will remain grandfathered.
- One could spend hours discussing all the details involved in this legislation. Every American business person needs to realize that it is not only about today, but what it will evolve into years from now. In 1965 our country passed Medicare and Medicaid and it required only 137 pages of legislation. By 1998, those pages had grown into over a 132,000 pages, making one realize that each page of legislation created 1,000 pages of regulations. Today the PPACA, that was signed on March 23, 2010 by President Barrack Obama is 2801 pages. Should we be worried?
As always, email me here with your questions or comments. I love to hear from you and thoroughly enjoy the “intellectual debate” with our clients and friends that these opinions generate.
Greg Powell, CIMA