The following is a scenario drafted to illustrate the impact the health reform legislation will have on all of us including our elected officials. State health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion will challenge state legislatures across the country. Here is the profile of a new public servant and the troubles they will face. For more listen to America’s Healthcare Challenge. The latest podcast can be found here.
John Q. Candidate is married to the former Jane Doe. They have two children, Timmy and Tammy, and live in a college town in the Midwest. John runs his family lumber business now that his father has retired. The lumber business employs 100 employees, a third of them part-time college students. Sixty of the full time employees receive health insurance benefits.
The housing boom a few years ago brought expansion of the company, but the economy, rising expenses, employee benefit increases, and new Federal regulations have cut into profits and threatened company finances. Soon John must face laying off employees or discontinuing company health insurance benefits, which could bankrupt the company if premium costs continue to increase. John is furious with the Government’s interference in his business, and vows to fight it by running for Legislature.
Should he be elected he will face a serious learning curve that has been exacerbated in the last few years. If he wins he will have to educate himself with a crash course on health insurance exchanges, Medicaid and other complex issues. He hears on tv that these exchanges are like a travel website but he is in for a surprise when he learns at a department of insurance event they are the largest non-defense related technology cost in American History. Overwhelmed, John Q. Candidate wonders if he should even bother. Although his heart pumps idealism, he is also a business owner and has become a realist.
During pillow talk, John asks Jane if it even worth it. Who can you trust for reliable information on this issue, she replies.