Health Care Law is Doing Nothing for Confidence in Medical System

Jun 26, 2013

A Gallup poll finds that only 35% of Americans have confidence in the medical system, its lowest level since 2008. Gallup’s Frank Newport also notes, “The current reading is also at the lower end of the range seen since Gallup first asked about the medical system in 1993.”

Confidence in the medical system improved after the health care law was passed, but with implementation going full-bore, it’s reversed.

Business actions reflect this lack of confidence.  Jan Siegmund, CFO of human resource firm ADP told Fortune magazine that “anticipation of the health reform” is affecting hiring decisions. 

In the case of Barney’s Beanery, a restaurant chain in Los Angeles, co-owner David Houston told Fox News’ Stuart Varney that because of the health care law, he expects “maybe up to a quarter to a third of our profits will be eaten up by the healthcare costs.” This will “make hiring difficult and make planning the future difficult and may make expansion plans just roll out a heck of a lot slower.”

An April 2013 U.S. Chamber Small Business Outlook Survey found that “requirements of the health care law are now the biggest concern for small businesses.”

Challenges like these facing American businesses were discussed at a hearing before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Katie Mahoney, Executive Director for Health Policy for the U.S. Chamber, testified before House members on what the Chamber is doing as the health care law is implemented:

While we will continue to speak with businesses in Washington and around the country about the new requirements that law imposes on employers, we are engaging in other ways too.  With a law that has regulations that when stacked reach 7 feet in height to date, the law itself is not all that you need to read to “know what is in it.”

She continued:

It will be increasingly important to monitor and highlight whenever possible the effect the law is having on businesses and employees, as well as to the extent possible search for opportunities to provide relief.

This would include:

To that end we urge the regulators to adopt a compliance assistance approach as opposed to strict enforcement.  We urge Congress to pass legislation that would restore common business standards for the definition of a full-time employee.  We urge the public to be inquisitive and cautious as they assess the information available to understand the law.  We urge business to continue to innovate and work within the confines of the laws to develop and offer coverage options that serve their employees.

However, Mahoney warned House members, “The health care system was and continues now more than ever to be in dire need of reform.” Making high-quality health care more affordable to employers and employees is what’s needed to boost the public’s confidence in the medical system.

Tomorrow, the U.S. Chamber will be releasing a report with proposals to advance access to affordable coverage and to improve health care value.  

For tools and information to better understand the health care law visit http://www.uschamber.com/health-reform.

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