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Is small business’s approach to healthcare turning into a full retreat?

I follow many discussions in LinkedIn, and one popped up the other day that really got me to thinking. 

With the economy taking top billing in the news every day and jobs nearly impossible to come by, How are businesses supposed to plan for the future? 

What started this whole topic was this posted article :  Company health benefits in doubt  by Tom Murphy– Aug. 25, 2011 12:00 AM, Associated Press

This article paints a very bleak picture of the Obama-care fallout that is heading our way.

Take a minute to read that and take it all in; then continue on…

 

One problem with this as I see it, is the fact that the political landscape right now is so fluid that it puts in question all of the plans of employers, insurance providers and everyone on up the chain of the Healthcare system. How can you plan for your future from any of the components of the healthcare system if you can’t possibly know what the system is going to look like from year to year.

My assumption would be that participants along the healthcare chain must take a worst-case approach to planning for their future in order to protect their own interests and avoid becoming a casualty of the many changes in Healthcare laws coming soon to a provider/employer/Hospital near you.

 You can often count on someone pointing out that healthcare providers need to be reformed so that the Healthcare related services they provide can be cheaper and more affordable, such as is put forth in a recent article and interview over at the Harvard Business Review http://hbr.org/2011/09/how-to-solve-the-cost-crisis-in-health-care/ar/1

I understand the value in Mr Kaplan & Mr Porter’s approach, but while improving the cost evaluation structure within healthcare providers is absolutely vital for everyone involved, making the healthcare process more efficient and effective (sadly) will not stop the impending train wreck that the politicians have lain at everyone’s feet by unloading this “Healthcare overhaul” monstrosity onto everyone involved.

The federal government can’t manage healthcare effectively. For crying out loud, it can barely manage FEMA, ( https://www.hsdl.org/hslog/?q=node/6313 ) the Energy Department, ( http://democrats.science.house.gov/press-release/gao-issues-report-mismanaging-critical-isotopes-and-energy-department%E2%80%99s-role-helium-3 ) or even the Treasury ( http://gawker.com/5139875/our-tax+cheat-treasury-secretary ) without making headlines with its blunders and missteps, and I just face-palm myself every time I think about the IRS, now run by an individual who was caught twice misstating his own earnings to the tune of close to a million dollars total. We are supposed to trust the government to run an effective healthcare system? Based on that track record? That’s like hiring a money manager for your investment portfolio who’s in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings.

Small businesses are doomed if they do and doomed if they don’t. Sticking with their own coverage leaves them with skyrocketing costs because their providers can’t compete with government subsidized co-ops, the inevitable cost increases due to unwieldy government waste and red tape. The only other options is to roll over and stick it to their employees because that, (at least for the moment) presents a known level of cost, the penalties are set already so they can at least get decent cost estimate together. They can then mollify their guilty consciences by assuming that the coverage provided by the government co-ops will be enough to take care of their employees.

But then, who knows if how much, if any, of the current regulations and laws will even be in place come the next election cycle? Then what? A whole new outcome that nobody can predict?

Of course this concerns me. It means everyone has to plan for the worst and hope that they can pull through it, but the people who pay for it in the end are…

Everyone! Nobody escapes this unscathed. Not the Doctors, the Hospitals, the insurance brokers or the employees/patients. And the level of care they ultimately receive depends completely upon how agile, intuitive and dedicated their provider has been in dealing with all of these unknowns.

Just my view from the cheap seats…

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