Well the momentous decision about the healthcare bill has been made. I do have a few thoughts on the process we see unfolding, aside from the purely political jockeying for advantage by both sides. I'm far more interested in the pluses & minuses that we can be certain of for now, and what it means for business because judging by all the dialogue, one thing appears clear, eventually the bill in front of us today is about to be tweaked, massaged, and spun, into what will perhaps be a barely recognizable form of its current self. Why do I say this?
Election Chatter Reveals ‘More Heat Than Light’
In a presidential election season, there is always more fiction than fact; basically more "heat than light" so it is really difficult to discern all the ramifications of this voluminous bill as it currently stands but since most of it doesn’t go into effect until 2014, there's plenty of time to use it like silly putty to remold it into another similar or wholly different form under the same name. Repealing it is simply not aligned with our history. We’ve seen that it is far easier to create new legislation, then to end old, useless, undesirable, or outdated ones. They usually "stay on the books" especially if cutting a bill would mean a loss in jobs.
What will Obama Care Mean for Your Taxes
One big issue being discussed given the way the legislation got through the court is what will it mean for your individual taxes. If you presently have insurance or buy insurance through the new market pools, it will mean NOTHING; as in you will not pay any additional taxes. If however, you don't have insurance [& can no longer be covered by your parents], you will be asked to pay what amounts to a "free rider" penalty but on an upward scale. This means the first year, it's a small fee but will increase every year thereafter until you buy insurance. This group of people is estimated to amount to 1% or less of the population so this will not mean a mass tax hike on the nation. If you've heard anything different, that's just political jockeying & hyperbole. It is clear however that there’s currently more that we don’t know than we do know about this bill because the administration has done a poor job of selling it AND most of Congress [by their own admission] hasn't even read it in its entirety [although one would think that this would be in the large block print in their job requirements].
Staying Productive & Competitive
I've heard the vote on the bill succinctly summed up as a case of “President Obama selling hope while Governor Romney is selling fear." That's for the country to decide on Election Day. What I know is that it's in every business person's interest to see that their workforce is insured to enable them to be productive and competitive. Therefore, for the moment I'm not inclined to make "perfection the enemy of the good." Furthermore, if history is any guide, in this country, hope trumps fear any day of the week!
*Post Script: Several months after the original post, it should however be noted that now politicians on both sides ARE indeed talking about tying the cost of health coverage to taxes in some, yet to be seen way but NOT as a function of "Obamacare" per se but rather as a way of dealing with the federal debt.