Bindery Blog

Thoughts about the graphic arts industry and the world at large.

Obamacare and Business

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Many businessmen lean Republican and detest government spending on social programs but should they?

I sell machinery that is built in Asia, Europe, and yes, The United States. I compete with manufacturers of bindery equipment made overseas. My company, and my vendors, contribute greatly to the cost of our employees’ health benefits, not only because it is the right thing to do, but to attract the best people we can. Most employees expect benefits, do they not? Yet my overseas competitors do not have to contribute anything to their employees’ health care. Their government foots the bill. This makes my machines more costly and my company less competitive. We should remember that General Motors spends more money on health insurance than on steel. How competitive would their pricing be if the government picked up the tab on their health care?

Now let’s look at ObamaCare. According to a fascinating editorial in the “left wing” newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, by Annie Lamont and Ezekiel J. Emmanual, America's CEOs might not admit it in public, but the Affordable Care Act- aka ObamaCare-- has been good for business.” They go on to say; “To take a single benchmark, look at families who receive insurance coverage through an employer. Between 2001 and 2008, their average premium jumped nearly 80%, according to annual survey data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust. Under President Obama, the increase was only 36%. This represents real money: If the Bush-era rate of inflation had continued through 2016, each of these families would be spending about $5,000 more on annual premiums.”

Now how much of this would have had to been paid out by employers, job creators, or masters of the universe? A hefty percentage, and in many cases, all of it.

Other points include how investment in medicine has boomed and that repealing The Affordable Care Act would cause uncertainty in the marketplace, volatility, and a certain return to higher inflation of health care costs. All of us businessmen like this kind of thing, right?

Furthermore repealing The ACA would result in cost shifting, or shafting more like.  When the newly uninsured do not have coverage, they will still show up at the emergency room and when they cannot pay, these costs will be paid by higher premiums for you and me.

“The Affordable Care Act has helped minimize this cost shifting. Specifically, the law's expansion of Medicaid cut hospitals' uncompensated care by roughly a third from 2013 to 2014, according to a study in Health Affairs. At the University of Pennsylvania Health System, bad debt--the accounting term for bills that are written off when patients can't pay them-- decreased from 6.1% of revenue in 2014 to 3.9% last year. Taken nationally, a drop that size is worth nearly $25 billion a year.”

As to ObamaCare’s “skyrocketing premiums,” this only applies to a small fraction of Americans who have purchased their own individual policies. There are about 10 million people in the Obamacare markets out of the 270 million Americans under 65 who have health insurance. While I feel for them, I hardly think scuttling such a business friendly program is in the best interest of our economy.

“If only CEOs would say as much before it is too late.”

Binders, Printers, and Businessmen
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