The age-old adage “you can expect two things in life: death and taxes” is inaccurate. As we all know, but fight, along with death and taxes, is CHANGE. There is much change in the air among health care consumers and health care providers who have noted many changes already. Numerous additional changes are set to go into effect January 1, 2014 and later.
The status of the health care system in the United States is debated daily. Health care reform in the mold of Obama Care (or more officially The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) has produced unprecedented debate, energy, and has led to incomprehensible new costs to the entire system.
For the average family, health insurance costs now exceed the costs of groceries, and will require more business-savvy amongst healthcare businesses in order to survive. While its touted that the costs of healthcare will decrease, the facts are that billions of dollars are being spent by healthcare-related businesses of all sizes to prepare for the necessary requirements to remain viable.
The Affordable Care Act will provide the opportunity for health insurance coverage to the millions of Americans who could not afford coverage in the past. However, there will be many who qualify that would rather pay the penalty to not purchase insurance and then gamble if they will need it. Without coverage, many Americans currently paying for coverage will continue to pay for those who need care and don’t pay for it.
More people will have access to health care providers for health prevention and promotion. Physicians will be joined by qualified Nurse Practitioners as primary care providers. Additional changes to the system will reward health lifestyle behaviors and penalize people for care needed for diseases that are preventable or controlled by lifestyle decisions.
Small businesses are predicted to be at an advantage for offering health insurance to their employees. But 41% of small business owners plan to hold off hiring full time employees to avoid the higher costs of providing employee health coverage. Small businesses holding employees at the cusp of 50 Full Time Equivalents are caught in the cross hairs- being too large to benefit from saving on health care premiums and too small to compete with big corporate America’s buying power. Companies with 200 or less employees is indeed small business and comprise 99.7 of all employers. More than half of all non-farm Gross Domestic Product in the U.S. comes from small businesses. Small businesses will be forced to scale back any expansion plans and the nation’s economy will continue to deteriorate.
Like it or not, some form of health care reform is here to stay. This is a change I know for sure. Responsibility rests each of us to communicate with our nation’s policymakers to make appropriate addendum to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to make it truly affordable for all.