From the December 2010 issue of Benefits Selling Magazine •Subscribe!


Health care speakeasys?

I guess it goes without saying that last month's column got me in a little bit of hot water with a few of my more "passionate" readers.

A few of you took issue with my electoral confession, a few questioned my cynicism, while most of you had real problems with me shirking my civic duty to pull the lever. Valid concerns, no question.

But the objections, both online and in person, that confused me most regarded my offhand assertion that - despite an historic midterm bloodletting - there is no way the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act faces a wholesale repeal. And that's not some left-wing "lame-stream" journalist espousing his own agenda. It's an educated political observer analyzing the facts and drawing a conclusion.

For starters, the Republicans might have stormed the House, but the Democrats managed to cling to the Senate, making a repeal effort legislatively problematic. And don't forget Obama's in the White House for another two years, and I'm pretty sure he'd veto any such attempt.

Repealing parts of the law will be more successful, although I doubt Democrats will allow the individual mandate provision to be sacrificed because it remains such a key part of the legislation. And many have suggested the GOP's newfound control over the federal purse strings could come into play as they threaten to defund any new programs or expansions. But, again, most of that doesn't come into play until 2014.

Where Republicans will have the most success - particularly in the court of public opinion - will be in establishing stronger oversight of the various sections of this law. If there's one thing the public needs, it's more information and greater transparency.

To me, this law represents all that's wrong with our government. You've got one party passing legislation more watered down than stone soup, while an opposition party offers plenty of objections but no solutions. And don't get me wrong, we saw plenty of this during the Bush years, as well, with the roles reversed. So no one is without blame here.

Should the law be repealed? Yeah, probably. Should it be tweaked? At the very least - and my first suggestion would be to eliminate the tax on so-called Cadillac plans.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with the words of Lincoln, "But I do mean to say that although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in force, for the sake of example they should be religiously observed."


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