As the U.S. Supreme Court decides the fate of health reform, America is getting the chance to try the law on for size while waiting for the people in the robes to say how much of it will remain in effect. Some employers are probably soft-pedaling implementation – they don’t like the law much anyway, and why not bank on the expectation that the individual mandate will sink and bring down the employer mandates with it.
Other employers are moving diligently forward with elements they think would probably stand or eventually become industry standard anyway. One such example: dependent coverage to age 26. Not something once in place, plans will reel back, some observers say. (Folks, we’d like your opinions, so feel free to use the comments bar.) A digest of current articles on health reform shed light on those issues.
In this article, health plan executives say they will continue implementing health reform without heed for the next months until the Supreme Court ruling. Certain elements would either not be eliminated from the final ruling, or would be reintroduced and passed by Congress. One such provision would be fixing the fee-for-service system that rewards volume of care (perhaps by maximizing billable office visits, for example); and replacing that with a payment system that pays based on outcomes, thereby incentivizing more effective care.
Here, we see a survey saying employers will hold the line on providing health coverage to workers but they expect to pay more to do so, and that ultimately could fuel an employer exodus from providing coverage. It says 76% of employers already have – or expect to – experience an increase in their organizations’ health benefit costs, as a result of health care reform.
Here, a Wisconsin columnist lauds health reform for helping small business contain health coverage costs. In Federal Register rules, the government limited the percentage increase an insurer can impose on an insured company plan. Complaints and enforcement have commenced.
The IRS has too few employees to be able to collect health reform’s tax penalties on employers that don’t offer insurance, according to a Republican witness, who testified for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. One might expect they’ll have to hire more tax collectors.