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American Health Care System Headed to ICU

American Health Care System Headed to ICU

The American health care system needs a thorough check-up, however, Congress may be getting ready to admit the system into ICU with terribly inexperienced physicians.

Without a doubt our health care system needs work.  As an experienced employee benefits professional, I sincerely doubt the complete overhaul and government controlled approach will render the changes or savings the system needs. Even with all the issues facing health care today in America, people still travel from all over the world to receive first class health care treatment in the United States of America.

A recent letter to all employees from Stephanie Cipolla, Vice President of Human Resources for Tulsa-based Williams Companies, provides an enlightening perspective on how the current Health Care Reform legislation could impact hard-working Americans…

In its current form, the legislation would:

  • Increase the cost of employer-provided health benefits (raising our costs)
  • Cause a greater shift of the cost of these services to the private payers in the system (like Williams)
  • Introduce a series of new fees, taxes and administrative requirements that will increase the cost to Williams and our employees
  • Over time, potentially expose our medical plan to a 40% excise tax
  • Significantly reduce the Medicare reimbursements  to health care providers further below market rates
  • Let the government dictate certain aspects of the health benefits we offer
  • Cap pre-tax contributions to health care flexible spending accounts at $2,500

The cost of this legislation is shifting expenses towards employers already trying to provide well-designed and managed health care programs.  Companies like Williams are wondering why the good aspects of the American health care system are not being preserved and inefficiencies are not being tackled.

Although Williams explains their point of view and analysis in their letter, they also provide an efficient internal website for employees to provide their point of view to the individuals who represent them in Congress.  It is worthwhile mentioning that Williams expects the feedback to be given in a positive and respectful way.  Even when we disagree on such important matters, civility is a very important part of a great company culture.

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Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees’ desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.

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