President Obama is expected to approve health reform in late February, after the House and Senate bills have been merged and approved. Current concerns about reform funding and the public option and are common, important and among the most hotly contested issues in committee markup for determination into the final bill.
Meanwhile, more than a cursory investigation of the 2,000+ pages of provisions reveals much more than the common bipartisan sound bytes of “socialism” and “pull the plug on grandma”.
The good news is that grants and tax credit provisions for healthy behaviors remain in both the House and Senate Bills and are also part of health reform, although not discussed as often as they could be. Also, premium reductions of 30-50% for health promotion and support for small businesses are a proposed component from the Senate.
Health insurance premiums have increased more than 140% in the past decade. With medical costs overtaking corporate profits, many businesses have been pressing for reform for some time. The different visions of reform are sparking some heated debate and excellent dialogue.
The final health reform bill should turbo charge corporate wellness and dramatically advance prevention as a core business strategy for long-term health cost effectiveness.
Key viewpoints regarding health overhaul revolve around whether you think it’s best to enhance rather than slash health benefits for improved outcomes and ROI. Many believe cost-cutting measures have been nearly exhausted with less than 1% of medical dollars going toward preventing conditions that cause skyrocketing medical costs.
With health reform nearly inevitable, conversations are shifting from debating the merits of reform to how businesses can leverage upcoming challenges and opportunities. Some businesses will respond in the equivalent of a bumper sticker that reads, “don’t blame me, I voted for…” and some will need time to grieve and adapt. Early adopters will enjoy additional resources and competitive advantages.
Scott Foster is President and ROI Expert for Wellco Corporation, based in Michigan. Wellco works with companies who want to stop dangerous and costly health conditions through corporate wellness and prevention. Wellco specializes in health ROI systems, health risk appraisals, wellness programs, speaking, and consulting. Wellco is the developer of the award-winning HealthHammer, the first and only Zero Trend Appraisal system.