Finance News & Insights

Is the Bay State the model for Obama's healthcare plan?

Our President-elect promises to revamp the country’s entire healthcare system, but what does his plan actually entail? Experts say this example should give a pretty good indication.

In 2006, MA Gov. (at the time) Mitt Romney signed a universal healthcare law into place.

Many feel this state’s healthcare plan should give a fairly accurate representation of how Obama’s plan will pan out, albeit on a much smaller scale.

But where’s the evidence? The prospective Obama plan — like the MA plan — takes a laissez-faire stance on the current employer-based healthcare system, while promising to provide individuals with access to less-costly insurance in the group market. And, like MA, employers who don’t offer health insurance will be penalized under the Obama plan.

While the goal — reducing the number of uninsured Americans — is certainly noble, it will likely be costly for employers.

Take MA, facing a penalty of $295 per employee, many companies who didn’t offer heath benefits instead opted to start including them — even though it was more expensive.

We’ll keep you posted on the details of Obama’s healthcare plan and what it means for businesses. In the meantime, now is a good time to do some research on reigning in the rising cost of heath insurance.

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  • Of course, there are many points of disagreement on healthcare reform and numerous difficult decisions and compromises to be hammered out. But there’s also widespread agreement on at least two critical reform requirements.

    — Electronic health records (EHR). Bringing together the major medical systems has been a priority of current HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt, and will likely be backed by his probable successor Tom Daschle. EHR adoption is still low, so the opportunity is real and big.
    — Evidence-based medicine. Stakeholders agree that all efforts and systems should be based on sound medical science and published literature. The new systems need to assure and deliver quality, consistent care, incorporating the best diagnostic and quality care guidelines. These guidelines need to be available at the patient’s bedside as well as throughout payer and provider organizations.

    These two concepts give us a starting point for the emerging health reform compromise. I’m looking forward to seeing more points of agreement emerge as the reform conversation gains volume.