Let’s Talk Health Care Reform – What It Will and Will Not Do – Do Not Wait

Many, many business owners and individuals are putting off making smart changes to their insurance plans in anticipation of Health Care Reform.  I’ve even had people tell me point blank that as of January 1, 2010 (11 days ago), all exclusions for Pre-Existing Conditions Were Done Away With.  Hardly.  It just doesn’t happen that fast.

In fact, when I visited DC this summer and lobbied Senators and Congressmen for Health Care Reform (fix access, lower cost, leave everything else alone) they told me that Health Care Reform would be parceled out in two separate and distinct parts:

Part II, the changes to access for those with Pre-Exisiting Conditions, etc. would start in 2013 or 2014.

Part I, income tax rate increases and new taxes on medical and other items, would start right away.

Gee, this kind of seems backwards but the reason is, they explained to me, is that the price tag for Health Care Reform is well understated and the tax hikes won’t be enough.  But if during the first 10 years of Health Care Reform they tax us for the first 10 years (2010 thru 2019) but only make changes (e.g. improvements) for 5 or 6 years (e.g., 2013 thru 2019), it will make it appear, after these 10 years, that there were enough taxes. This means for most of us, we will not be getting much information about the imbalance of cost vs. increased taxes for what, 15 years?  We’ll be on Mars by then and probably well on our way to Jupiter and we will not really be all that sure what happened in the Fall of 2009.  A bad year all around.

Is there a concrete point to all this.  Yup, you bet.  And that is, the Best Health Care Reform, the Best Insurance Reform, the Best Financial Reform, is a GREAT Insurance Broker.  Don’t wait for the government to save you money or for some other miracle to happen.  Pick up your phone, and call a good Broker.  Ask he or she how to be smart with your insurance money!

Thanks for listening!~

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2 responses to “Let’s Talk Health Care Reform – What It Will and Will Not Do – Do Not Wait

  1. The taxing now versus the “benefits” later is truly one scary thought regarding all this reform talk. Of course, there are many things scary about the process by which the reform has taken. I agree that certain things could be better but you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

  2. Michael Wardrip

    Dear Friends,

    Having just experienced a computer meltdown, I came home from the Capitol today to find a “invalid system disk” error on my desktop screen in my office. Oh well, let’s do it again, recover the system from a backup and this time throw the disk that passed the drive endurance test away and use the backup as primary. Those new base systems with the Core 2 Quad processors I’ve been looking at that are about 20-30 times faster are looking pretty sexy about now.

    On to business. One item I forgot to include yesterday is that the Governor had included a reference to cross-state selling in his “eggs and issues” speech to the Chamber of Commerce. I didn’t make the connection, but I had been in the Governor’s office speaking to his Health Policy Advisor when young man came and stood in the hallway outside her office. when he asked if he was needed, she said “Make sure you look at my last email and make sure it sounds OK for ‘the speech'”. I was there providing technical data on comparative costs of coverage and mandates in the states, but it didn’t register the reference to the speech was directly about the Governor’s interest in offering a bill on the issue.

    I learned today through a contact with Chairman Knox that Matt Ramsey, the Governor’s Floor Leader was shopping a bill on the subject a day after Senators Hill and Rogers had introduced their version. I haven’t seen that version yet, but it is likely on its way. I know BCBSGA is opposed to the bill(s), but the GAHP is vetting it to its members who have not taken a position. This as you recall is one of what is called “GOP talking points” issues, which are very popular with caucus leaders. As positions become more widely known I will update you.

    I have been having direct email communications with DCH Commissioner Rhonda Medows and I added a question on Premium Assistance to the mix. Here responses have been very prompt, but also quite detailed and thought out. On that issue, she gave a detailed technical response that I will review carefully tonight, but in a word, she wants to meet to discuss the issue. We don’t have to put a rush on it because we already have a bill from last session. Right now, it is not known if a pilot might be worked on independent of our bill or not.

    Related to DCH funding, I learned today that the provider tax is back in the Governor’s budget. There is also a bill that was introduced last year, but it did not advance. Leadership in the House and Senate are not interested in any new taxes, but the financial bleeding @ DCH is as bad or worse than last year. Judson Hill was the author last year of our Premium Assistance bill and we know there are ways to save the state $$$ in the midst of the current fiscal crisis. Maybe if we can pull together a solid argument to positively score PA as a net saver for the state, we can see if DCH and the Governor might dial back on their push for the provider fee, which is proposed again as a 1.6% fee for both hospitals and managed care plans with a goal of collecting about $240 million to shore up Medicaid.

    There is still a considerable buzz I try not to pay much attention to about Speaker Ralston’s supporters pushing for “spoils” after his election. His elevation is widely applauded, but in fact, it came on the 2nd ballot by a 4 vote margin over Rep. Larry O’Neal after Rep. Bill Hembree threw his support and endorsement to Speaker Ralston. My point in relating this is to suggest my hope that spoils not be taken in a big way. There has been enough bad press and the challenges that face us as a state are quite severe. Continued upheaval in the House could take time and focus at a time Georgians need a sense that old leadership deficiencies and misconduct are dealt with squarely, but our leaders don’t take their focus off the financial crisis and the need for jobs in our state.

    OK, as I close, here’s my Day on the Hill pitch. If you have not registered, DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!! We will have a fantastic program. It will be extremely timely and you will hear directly from the state’s leaders I write about in my reports. AGAIN, DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!!

    If you have friends and associates who you want to add to my list let me know, but also know I will ask (insist actually) that they join GAHU if they are not already members.

    May God bless you and your families.

    Michael

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