Healthcare Reform 2.0: Five things you need to know to grow your business in 2013

How much do you know about healthcare reform — and I don’t mean just the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). I mean the coming tsunami of change that has the potential to completely revamp one of the most dysfunction systems in our country (as you know from reading my blog).

Do you know. . .

Why we need healthcare reform? What healthcare reform means for your employees and employer? How healthcare reform will change your interactions with the healthcare system? How healthcare reform may make it safer for you to get sick? Why healthcare reform will save you money?

If you can’t tell me the answers to these questions, then you need to block off 1-2 p.m. (eastern) February 5 for my webinar: Healthcare Reform 2.0: Five things you need to know to grow your business in 2013. You can also view it on demand.

And, as a “thank you” for reading this blog, I’ll give you half off the registration fee. Just use code GS12713 when you register.


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Preparing for a (Gulp!) Colonoscopy: What It Says About Our Healthcare System

As of November 30, I am now, as my gastroenterologist puts it, 39 + 11 years old. You know what that means! So, a couple of weeks ago I called his office to make an appointment.

I would have preferred to simply make the appointment online or even e-mailed the office, but since the practice didn’t offer this, I fought my phonaphobia and punched in the numbers. Of course, I went through five prompts before getting a live person and was put on hold for a few minutes. About 10 minutes later, I finally had my appointment.

I was told to arrive at 2:30 p.m., which I dutifully did. Then the receptionist gave me a stack of paperwork to complete. And a pen. Among the information I had to provide:

• My husband’s Social Security number, since our insurance comes courtesy of his job. Not sure why this was needed, since the receptionist made a copy of my insurance card, which has all pertinent information on it. Not to mention that in this day and age of identity theft, I don’t like giving out Social Security numbers to anyone. But the last time I refused to provide a Social Security number … Continue Reading

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Would You Pay an Extra 4 Cents Per Pizza to Provide Health Insurance to Thousands?

A good friend of mine emailed me the other day to say that she is “so sick of listening to business owners whine about Obamacare.” So this blog is for her.

She was referring to the news that restaurants like Papa Johns, Applebee’s, and the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden announced  they would cut employee hours, close restaurants, lay off employees, and stop hiring new employees because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that companies with 50 or more employees provide health insurance.

A bit of background: Beginning in 2014, the ACA (and, for the record, I find the word “Obamacare” derogatory to one of the most important legislative acts since Medicare) requires that nearly all Americans have health insurance. Low- and moderate-income Americans will either receive coverage through Medicaid or receive government subsidies to buy health insurance through virtual marketplaces called health insurance exchanges, or to help cover the cost of employer-provided insurance. (Don’t worry, I’ll blog about those exchanges in a future post).

But the majority of health insurance in this country is provided by employers, so the ACA contains contingencies to ensure  those companies don’t suddenly drop health insurance as a benefit. Businesses with … Continue Reading

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Five Reasons Why Privatizing Medicare is a Bad Idea

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a wonky blog post. 

So a few people out there are suggesting that we privatize Medicare and give out vouchers for recipients to purchase their own insurance on the open market. This is such a bad idea for so many reasons, and shows that some people simply don’t understand how Medicare works. Here are my top five. . .

1. Medicare is the closest thing we have to a single payer system. Medicare covers one in seven Americans, 97 percent of those 65 and older., or 49 million Americans. In 2030, the number of Americans covered is expected to nearly double, with one out of five Americans covered.

This huge cohort of individuals provides enormous opportunities to test  new reimbursement and quality initiatives with a large cohort. In fact, Medicare is leading the country in many of these initiatives, including accountable care organizations, pay-for-performance options, DRGs for hospital reimbursement (which reimburses based on diagnosis, not on how many aspirin you get), and financial penalties for hospitals if patients with pneumonia, heart failure, or heart attacks are readmitted within 30 days. Those penalties are expanded to vascular surgeries/procedures in 2015.

… Continue Reading

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SCOTUS Decision: Waiting with Bated Breath

I don’t know about you, but I am as anxious about the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act expected momentarily as I was the first time I turned the car keys over to the 16-year-old. Heck, I’ve been in Jamaica all week on vacation and was still checking the news several times a day.

Why? Because I believe that this decision–whether positive or negative for the law–will send ripples, no, waves, through the economy, the political spectrum, and millions of individual lives.

Our healthcare system is out of control. It is out of control in terms of spending, poor quality and complexity. It is out of control when the major reason for declaring personal bankruptcy in this country is the inability to pay medical bills. It is out of control when, as I read in a recent book by the Medical Director of the American Cancer Society (How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America) a woman walks into the emergency room at Grady hospital in Atlanta with her breast wrapped in towels in a bag; the breast that necrosed from lack of blood because the tumor that had been growing there for … Continue Reading

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