What the Survival of Healthcare Reform Means Going Forward
Things have gotten crazy in our office ever since last Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld the healthcare reform law (PPACA). There's 13,000 pages of regulations and the IRS, Health and Human Services, and many other agencies haven't even gotten started yet.
There are nearly 200 agencies and various government entities involved in the law. "It's a delegation of extensive authority, from Congress to the Department of Health and Human Services and a lot of boards, commissions and bureaus throughout the bureaucracy," said Matt Spalding of the Heritage Foundation. "We counted about 180 or so."
Our phones have literally been ringing off the hook constantly. Many insurance and HR professionals in the industry weren't really prepared for this. Everyone thought the entire healthcare reform law, or at least the individual mandate, would be struck down. Well, neither of those things happened. PPACA is here and it's here to stay.
My advice to both insurance and HR professionals is to avoid getting caught up in the politics surrounding upcoming elections. Top legal experts believe the likelihood of the law being repealed is very small, because it is such a monumental task. A new bill would have to be drafted and publicly debated for a long period (something the Republicans criticized the Democrats for) and Republicans would have to win the Presidency and a majority in both the House and the Senate.
It is so much easier to just make amendments and changes to specific provisions of the law rather than trying to start over at square one. But talk of repeal does make for really sexy political sound bites on TV, doesn't it?
Move On and Comply with PPACA
Much of the media's attention in covering healthcare reform has been devoted to the individual mandate, but analysts say that provision covers only a few of PPACA's 2,700 pages. It's time to move on and be prepared. Businesses and careers can't wait on the potential outcome of an election, and HR professionals certainly can't tell the C-Suite, "We have 18 months to be in full compliance with the major provisions that start January 1, 2014; let's take a wait-and-see approach."
Any consultants or agents telling their clients to wait for the elections may find themselves replaced shortly after the elections if they are wrong.I have tried to be the voice of healthcare reform since the law was first enacted. We are the only magazine dedicated to healthcare reform, we created the first national healthcare reform conference to be held in the country and we run the largest Linkedin discussion group on healthcare reform, with over 10,000 HR and insurance professionals.
We told agents almost two years ago they were going to lose their commissions, when all the trade associations and insurers said it wasn't going to happen. People need to face reality.
Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist
We started the first healthcare reform certification in the country in 2010 and over the past several years, working with leading experts, we developed and launched a comprehensive certification program in healthcare reform, called Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist. Unlike most others, we realized there was a very good chance the law would be upheld, not only on legal grounds but as a matter of public policy and public health.
The certification course is designed to give insurance and HR professionals a foundation and roadmap for healthcare reform and to better prepare themselves for complying with and implementing it. Specialists who pass the course must attend eight hours of intense classroom sessions in person or online, read a healthcare reform workbook and then pass an exam to receive the certification.
Those who graduate will then be required to maintain five hours of continuing education credits every year to ensure that they meet and comply with new rules and regulations. We are really excited about this certification, as our phones have been ringing off the hook about them!
About the Author
Jonathan Edelheit is the president of Free Health LLC, a leading US and International insurance and healthcare media company that specializes in "niche" industry health insurance, employee benefits and healthcare magazines. Under Free Health LLC, Mr. Edelheit is Editor-in-Chief of Benefits Live Magazine.
The magazine includes four industry-specific publications, including: Corporate Wellness Magazine, the only US and International magazine dedicated to health and wellness in the workplace, the Voluntary Benefits Magazine, the Self Funding Employer Healthcare and Workers Compensation Magazine, and the National Healthcare Reform Magazine, the only magazine dedicated to the newly implemented US Healthcare Reform Law.