Earlier this week the Obama administration announced that employer-sponsored group health insurance plans could have their tax breaks repealed in planned deficit cuts. In an Associated Press article Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar wrote, “Many economists believe employers would boost pay if they didn’t provide health care. Proponents of repeal usually call for a tax credit to offset part of the cost of individually purchasing coverage.”

During recent contract negotiations involving city workers, a small city in southern Michigan (population about 1,500) was asked to pay the workers an additional $5,000 per year if the employees elected not to enroll in the offered group health insurance plan. This was declined by city negotiators when it was determined the city’s contribution to the plan was no where near the requested $5,000.

The question becomes this: If the tax breaks for employer-sponsored group health insurance are indeed repealed, would it then be more cost-effective for this particular city to drop the employees’ insurance plan and boost their salaries by the requested amount? This is something the Mayor and City Administrator will have to consider.

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 dictates that individual states will establish health insurance exchanges by the year 2012 and have them fully operational by 2014. Simply stated, individuals, couples, families and small businesses will become part of an immense “pool” of health insurance purchasers of similarly-featured private health insurance policies. This should allow the large pool to negotiate and receive considerably lower premium rates for these policies. These government-operated exchanges should also allow for better consumer protection mechanisms, broader transparency and accountability.

Insurance agents will be able to offer access to these state-run health insurance exchanges through their agencies. One of the more important aspects of going through an agency to purchase insurance from a health insurance exchange is the level of information available from a trained and seasoned agent. An agent will allow the consumer or employer a broader set of choices than looking only at a health insurance exchange. While not likely, it’s still possible a standalone or group policy may actually still be less expensive or have broader benefits than a health insurance exchange can offer. This depends on the needs of the individual or group. There will never be a “one size fits all” insurance plan or exchange. The more choices a consumer or group has, the better their insurance will be.

All states and the District of Columbia have received grants for the development of their exchanges. Click here to see the individual grants and what each state plans to do with the funds.

Listen Up

March 15, 2010

As President Obama keeps pushing for health care reform, the states are starting to fight back and show they’re unhappy with what is happening in Washington.  Virginia is the first state to pass a bill banning mandatory health insurance coverage.  There are 34 other states following in the footsteps of Virginia, who have yet to finish work on a bill, including Arizona and Minnesota.

Now we are left to wonder whether the passing of these bills will have any effect on the passing or implementing of the health care reform.  It has been said that federal law will overshadow state law, so that would mean that no matter what bills the states pass, if the health care reform passes, then that will be law.  Would that mean that all the work the majority of states have put in would be ignored?  Hopefully, Washington will finally take notice of the US not wanting this specific health care reform bill to pass.  Now it seems that not only are Republicans fighting against the bill, but people from every party, every background are voicing concern.

C’mon, Impress US

January 27, 2010

Erin Lehman

With the State of The Union address only hours away, questions are being asked about what will transpire.  It is widely known that the main issue being discussed is going to be how to provide more jobs for the American people and helping our economy.  These plans which have been overshadowed by other ideas for health care reform are ones that the people have been waiting to discuss more thoroughly.

There has been much disappointment in the results of President Obama’s plans for health care reform and the public is leery of what is going to happen now, with another issue that is very important to the well being of our country.  So far ideas that have been proposed such as a tax credit to small business’s new hires, are ideas that need to be tweeked, but hold promise to help our country. I believe the problems that the people have with Obama stem from the fact that he was voted into office with unrealistic promises he made for change.  Many American’s are just waiting to see President Obama make a change that helps our country.  Even though there are many that are unhappy with Obama being president, that doesn’t mean they don’t want him to do well, who doesn’t want to live in a striving, healthy country?

Obama’s first State of the Union address tonight is going to be an important milestone, where we will see what other promises he will make and hopefully soon, what promises he will keep.  There will be a lot of  unhappy American’s waiting to be impressed tonight.

Voices Heard

January 22, 2010

Erin Lehman

Republican Scott Brown’s win of the Senate seat is what it took for Washington to notice that the idea’s they were pushing for health care reform weren’t making American’s happy. The result of Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts is making it so that, finally, the people’s discontent with health care reform is being noticed.  Senator Brown has upset the surety that the health care bill the Senate was proposing, would pass.  Luckily, instead of trying to pass the bill quickly before he came into office, changes are being proposed to the plan, before it will be tried again.

While we breathe a sigh of relief because, for right now, we don’t have to worry about a total change in our health care system.  There are ideas for change being thrown around that would  take the health care bill apart and only try for the very basics, like  making sure insurance companies don’t deny coverage or overcharge consumers.  By trying for this, instead of trying to get everyone in the US on a universal health care plan, less money would need to be spent.  This would mean that the money that was going to be taken away from  low income people that rely on Medicare, would not be needed as much.  As great as that sounds, there is still a chance that the insurance policies that people are currently on, would raise their prices.  It seems that if we allow things to keep going the way they were, we are going to be in a situation where there is no way to win.

Even with the uncertainty of what may happen, there is much excitement in the fact that health care reform is being rethought.  A large part of this excitement stemming from the fact that it was the people’s vote that caused this to happen.  A long road is still ahead for health reform, all we can do right now is be happy that our voices are being heard and considered.

http://video.foxnews.com/g3969241/the-constitution-and-freedom-part-5?category_id=86858

Judge Andrew Napolitano describes the exchange of power which gave the government the rights it has today.