The Blunt Force Trauma Of Health Care Reform

by Roby Brock ( 4 views 

How could one law have so much impact on so many people’s lives in so many different ways?

Health care reform — the landmark overhaul of the nation’s health care delivery and insurance system — promised and still promises to alter how we access, receive and pay for medical care. Consider these scenarios based on real-life Arkansans:

Darren and Brit, a brother and sister in their 20s, are out of college. Darren, 25, is a part-time worker at a hospital pulling in a measly 10 hours a week while he studies for a master’s degree in health care administration. Brit, 23, dropped out of college. She’s hoping to break into the music world as a singer or performer. To pay her bills, she works parttime as a sales clerk in a department store and has taken on a roommate to split the rent and utilities. Both Darren and Brit have health insurance by remaining on the plan of their parents, both of whom work for the state.

Jake and Joseph, a father-son handyman outfit in the central Arkansas suburbs, have a different walk in life. Jake, the 58-year-old father, is fortunate; his wife is a school teacher, and he has health insurance through her employment. Joseph, a 31-year-old widower with two sons under the age of 5, scrapes enough money together from their small business income to buy a low-cost individual plan for himself. ARKidsFirst, the state of Arkansas’ children’s Medicaid program, covers a big portion of his sons’ medical costs as Joseph’s salary is just low enough to stay under the $30,000 a year threshold. If he were to pay himself more, he’d risk losing the state safety net for his kids.

Tad is a 44-year-old successful business owner. He’s landed two auto parts franchises in Arkansas. He has some real estate holdings that include a small apartment complex and a few rental houses. Tad also manages a retail phone repair shop and recently acquired four convenience store locations in a fast-growing area of the state.

His family’s health insurance is covered by one of his business incorporations. However, his employees’ insurance is a hodge-podge of have and have-nots owing to his acquisitions and the combination of full-time and part-time workers on his various payrolls.

All of these scenarios have completely different outcomes based on the new federal health care law and its rolling provisions.

How will aspects of the law redefine the size and scope of a business? What penalties could workers and business owners be facing?  And what are some of the complications of the law that seem to have no easy answers at this point?

Click here to read our full analysis from TBQ.