Tag Archive for 'Grace-Marie Turner'

Is ObamaCare good for small businesses?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama two years ago. It was considered the signature accomplishment of the president’s first term.

Obamacare was hailed as comprehensive health care reform that would not increase the deficit and would solve rising insurance costs for small businesses. Two years hence, here is evidence that seem to refute these claims.

  1. The initial price tag for Obamacare was $940 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently reported the new estimate to be $1.76 trillion over 10 years, almost doubling the original claim.
  2. Instead of the lower insurance costs small businesses were promised, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office expects costs for small group and individual insurance purchasers to rise faster now than without Obamacare. And according to the Galen Institute, Obamacare’s early mandates contributed to employer costs rising three times faster last year than they did the year before.

  3. There are at least two parts of Obamacare that are causing small businesses to restrict growth plans and rethink compensation models and employment structure in anticipation of these provisions.
    • The employer mandate requires small businesses with more than 49 employees to provide “government-approved” health insurance or face a $2000 fine per employee, after the first 30. The employer mandate does not apply to part-time employees.
    • Obamacare does include tax credits for employers with fewer than 50 employees, but as the number of full-time employees and average compensation increases, the credits decrease. These provisions seem to be at cross-purposes with much needed jobs and income growth. Also, even if the individual mandate currently being considered by the Supreme Court is struck down, the employer mandate and tax credit restrictions would still apply.

  4. We wanted to know how small business owners feel about Obamacare, so in our online poll recently, we asked this question with three possible answers: “On the 2nd anniversary of Obamacare, where do you stand on this law?” Twelve percent of respondents chose, “I like it and think it will be good for America,” while those who were “Undecided,” represented 10% of our sample. But the rest, 78%, said “I don’t like it and think it should be repealed.”

Write this on a rock… Obamacare is contributing to the economic uncertainty that small business owners are feeling.

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On my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I’ve talked extensively with Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute, co-author of Why Obamacare is Wrong for America and staunch advocate of market-based healthcare solutions, about the real cost - in dollars and liberties - of Obamacare.

Click here to listen or download our conversations.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Dangers of changing the health care reform pronouns

In his 1973 book, “Winning Through Intimidation,” Robert Ringer wrote that when he was negotiating with another party who brought an attorney along, the attorney would typically begin by saying, “He (the client) wants …” this or that. Later, Ringer said, the attorney would change the pronoun to, “We want …” When the attorney’s pronoun inevitably changed to “I want … ,” Ringer said he would get up and walk about of the room because he knew the negotiation focus had shifted from the deal to the ego of the attorney.

Alas, there has been a pronoun shift in the health care reform debate that should be pointed out.

“He (Americans) wants …”
In the beginning, most people on both sides of the debate agreed that something should be done to improve the way we deliver and pay for health care. Initially, the debate was over how to accomplish that Herculean task, and it sounded like, “He wants …”

“We want …”
Even though Democrats control the Legislative and Executive Branches, there is a heated debate within the party about health care reform. So when you blend this internal debate with the political prudence of passing legislation that includes Republican votes, then stir in the arbitrary time pressure President Obama and the Democrat leadership have placed on this process, the result is a political contest with so many different players and rules that the average person watching can’t possibly score this game at home. This is where the debate sounds like the attorney is saying, “We want …”

“I want …”
In all of this convolution, there is one thing that is becoming clear to regular folks: Those in the “damn the political torpedoes, full speed ahead” camp are looking like their objective has evolved from health care reform for its own sake to health care reform purely for the sake of politics, as in, “I want …”

No one is naive enough to believe that any health care reform won’t be political, but when we’re talking about a topic that involves 17% of the U.S. economy and has few peers in terms of the personal impact on every American, shouldn’t we expect the final reform product to actually be focused more on lasting solutions than on accomplishing a political victory?

Watching this embarrassing mayhem has led me to want no health care reform legislation at all right now. Any bill produced in the current process will be flawed policy that will surely create more harm than good. The reform process should be scrapped completely until the debate addresses societal and market realities of the 21st century, rather than be the victim of political dysfunction.

It’s time for Americans to tell Congressional delegates to walk away from this negotiation until the correct pronouns are being used.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about the problems with the current state of health care reform. Also on my show this week, I discussed health care reform with Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute. Take a few minutes to listen to these thoughts on this important topic and, as always, be sure to leave your thoughts.

Health care reform that makes sense for small business

The health care reform debate is experiencing a significant increase in volume and vociferousness, including increased momentum toward a government take-over of the U.S. health care system. The two most often cited issues by proponents of health care reform are: 1) runaway costs, not only in delivery of care but also insurance; and 2) the millions of uninsured Americans.

There is nothing inaccurate about either of these debate points. For almost a decade, insurance costs have averaged double-digit increases every year. And there are somewhere between 40 - 50 million people living in the United States without health care insurance. Let’s break these points down and uncover alternative solutions to a government take-over of our health care system and one sixth of our economy.

Issue 1: Dealing with the cost
State mandates: The cost of health care insurance is inflated in many states by mandates for various medical procedures that should be optional but are required elements of a basic policy. What if your automobile budget restricted you to buying a car that provides only basic transportation, without fancy accessories, but the state you live in only allows “tricked out” cars to be sold? You now have a personal transportation crisis since you can’t afford to buy the car you need. Mandates, by state or federal governments, are not the answer to lowering health care costs.

Association health plans: Unlike big businesses and unions, small businesses cannot purchase health care insurance across state lines, thereby limiting access to the group discounts available to national organizations they may belong to. Allowing small businesses to buy health care insurance through chambers of commerce or trade groups would lower costs and allow more companies to provide insurance for their employees.

Health savings accounts: Essentially, these are IRAs for health care. You purchase a major medical policy with a high deductible, which is covered by annual investments up to that deductible amount into a tax-deferred account (like an IRA). Over time, any of the investment you don’t use for health care still belongs to you and you can even pass it on to your heirs. HSAs train people to become health care consumers instead of just patients.

Issue 2: Millions of uninsured
Illegal immigrants: Part of this number includes 12-20 million illegal immigrants. Whatever we decide to do about providing care for these people, our health care system should not be hijacked by including these numbers in the argument.

Young Americans: Recent research conducted by the state of Massachusetts showed that young people – who believe they are bullet-proof and will live forever –refuse to buy insurance even when they can afford it. A high percentage of America’s uninsured fit this profile and should not be included as reform evidence.

All the rest: The rest of the uninsured are Americans who truly can’t afford insurance. But we already have plenty of government programs to cover them. Even if we want to do more for this group, we can do that without converting everyone else to a Euro-style universal health care system.

Finally, we already know the government can’t run a health care system - look at Medicare and Medicaid. Both are insolvent, primarily due to government ineptitude, waste and inefficiencies. Small businesses need market solutions for our health care challenges. A single-payer, universal, government-mandated and controlled health care system will not be good for small businesses.

Recently, I talked about this on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, with one of the most important experts on market-based health care solutions, Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute. Grace-Marie is also a long-time member of my Brain Trust. Take a few minutes to listen to what this world-class expert has to say. And, of course, be sure to leave your thoughts.

The war between Universal and Market-based healthcare

In the world of health care, a war of philosophies has been raging for almost two decades – some could argue longer. If you’re scoring at home, the two sides of this battle are the government solutions warriors and the market solutions champions.

The team fighting for government to control America’s health care system identifies the ultimate goal of their plan as “universal health care.” So we’ll call them the Universals. If they win, all Americans will receive their health care as an entitlement from the federal government, which by definition will be paid for with tax revenue. If you’re looking for an example of this plan in action, consider the European model.

The other team is fighting for market-based solutions, where provider competition and patient portability prevails. We’ll call this team the Markets, and they want individuals to be able to make their own health care coverage decisions, pay for insurance coverage and treatments with before-tax dollars and become health care consumers, not just patients. The fans of the Markets think individuals, not the government, should be able to determine what’s best for them. The best example of success in support of this philosophy is Health Savings Accounts.

The difference between the two teams is actually quite simple: If you want to become a ward of the federal government regarding your health care services, root for the Universals. If you want to have more choices and control your own health care, cheer for the Markets.

Ironically, in 1997, a Republican-controlled Congress, typically on the Markets’ side, passed a bill called State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This provides coverage for children in families often called the “working poor,” households whose family income puts them in a kind of Never-Never-Land between Medicaid and an income level where they could afford to purchase insurance on their own. One argument against SCHIP is that families at the high end of eligibility may drop their own coverage, even when they can afford it, and let the government cover their children.

The health care war is heating up again, this time over SCHIP income eligibility - the Universals want to increase it. If passed as proposed, as columnist and Markets fan, George Will, reported recently, in some states the new family-of-four income eligibility level for SCHIP could grow to over $84,000, which is more than 400% of the poverty line and $30,000 more than the U.S. mean household income.

Adding irony to irony, the Democrats, a.k.a Universals, are using this Republican creation to do an “end-run” around the Markets to accomplish their ultimate goal. Indeed, Universal co-captain, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, called this increased coverage “a down payment on President Obama’s promise to provide universal health care to all Americans.”

If you favor the Markets’ philosophy, as I do, these are fighting words. Beside greater federal intrusion into my life as my primary objection to universal health care, there is also the prohibitive tax increases on small businesses that would ultimately result to pay for it.

Recently, Grace-Marie Turner (www.galen.org)joined me on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to talk about the health care war and the Universals’ SCHIP weapon. Grace-Marie is one of the world’s top thought-leaders on health care public policy, president of the Galen Institute a long-time member of my Brain Trust and a co-captain of the Markets. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear what this important expert has to say about the future of the American health care system. And be sure to leave a comment.




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