After months of attempting to craft a bipartisan bill that would overhaul our health care system, it would seem, after President Obama’s State of the Union Address, that health care reform is dying a slow death. The lead Democrats have moved on to the next item on their agenda. While the President has, in the past, said health care reform is his top priority, the Massachusetts election coupled with many public opinion polls have allowed the economy and job creation to leapfrog over health care to the front of the line.
What’s next? Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that next Tuesday she plans on introducing a provision that would repeal the federal antitrust exemption that would end the monopoly some insurers have to provide the only available health insurance. Implementing such a provision seems difficult at best and is unlikely to progress past the floor of the House. In fact, there is no thought to what the next step will be for any health care reform. There is no plan and no strategy for the future.
President Obama’s budget submitted Monday would include, if passed, increased funding for combating Medicare fraud, expansion of the community health centers that provide services for the uninsured, and emergency funds to state Medicaid programs, to name a few. Clearly, this is not a health care overhaul, but may be the best that can be expected in 2010.
The only certainty individuals have is that they will continue to pay health care expenses for themselves and family members who may need assistance in the future. They cannot and should not expect any health care reform to reduce costs or diminish the need to incorporate current and potential costs into cash flow the going forward.
Employers, wealth managers and financial services firms should provide updates so that employees and clients can understand what reform represents without getting lost in the health care labyrinth.
For additional information, contact EAB HealthWorks.