Health-Care Reform: Act Now or Pay Later

By Caudron, Shari | Personnel Journal, March 1994 | Go to article overview

Health-Care Reform: Act Now or Pay Later


Caudron, Shari, Personnel Journal


For most Americans, a trip to the doctor is a fairly uncomplicated proposition. You get sick, call for an appointment, the doctor sees you, the insurance company is billed, your employer pays the insurance company. We understand the system, and those of us with employer-paid health plans are quite accustomed to getting quality medical care on demand. The system isn't perfect, many people are uninsured and costs are on an upward spiral, but 80% of Americans are satisfied with the medical care they receive. All this may change in the near future, however, as Congress grapples with national health-care reform.

Allowing government to overhaul the nation's health-care system is frightening. Either of these institutions, taken by itself, is tough to figure out. Put them together, and you have a process that is mind-numbing in its complexity. What do the glad-handers in Washington know about the delivery of medicine? How can they balance our perceived right to the very best care with the economic imperative of controlling costs? The answer, of course, is that they can't. Not without a lot of input from those who understand the system, including employers who have paid most of this country's health tab for years.

At this point, no one knows what health reform will look like. President Clinton's Health Security Act, introduced with great pomp and circumstance last September, has gotten the majority of ink on the subject. But there are, in fact, more than 60 bills working their way through Congress that deal with health-care reform in one way or another. With so much sorting out to do on Capitol Hill, how concerned should human resources executives be at this point? In a word, very.

Among the various reform proposals are suggestions for a payroll tax that would be used to underwrite the entire health-care system. There are proposals to eliminate or limit the tax deductibility of employer health benefits. And there are calls for companies to increase the number of health benefits they provide. Clearly, the potential cost to employers is too great for HR professionals not to be involved in the debate raging in Congress.

Granted, some companies may financially benefit from health reform. A unionized auto maker that currently pays close to 20% of payroll on health benefits might think a 7.9% payroll tax--such as the one proposed by Clinton--sounds pretty good. Companies that offer generous spousal benefits, employee assistance programs, on-site wellness activities and retiree health care might also breathe a sigh of relief to not have to administer and pay for such complex benefits.

But the majority of employers are understandably nervous about what reform will look like. HR managers are rightly concerned about the reform's potential impact on their companies' profits as well as on how their departments' work loads and responsibilities will change. Regardless of what side of the debate you're on, it behooves you to have a say in the process. It's what makes this country a democracy.

Of 535 members of Congress, fewer than 50 of them really understand the health-care issue, says Robert Laszewski, a principal with Health Policy and Strategy Associates in Washington, D.C. "Most members are only a little less lost than John Q. Public when it comes to such things as health alliances, risk-adjustment methodology, premium-cap formulas and the difference between workers' compensation integration and coordination," he says. HR executives who understand these and other aspects of the health-care system must make their voices heard for health-care reform to have any promise of being something that business can live with.

By now, it's no surprise that health reform is on the front burner. There are 37 million uninsured and 22 million underinsured Americans, health costs are rising faster than the gross national product, and companies are paying a larger and larger percentage of profits to cover their employees' medical needs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Health-Care Reform: Act Now or Pay Later
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.