Life After ObamaCare

What will life be like after ObamaCare is quashed by the Supreme Court? Will business as usual take hold with health insurance brokers resurrected from the dead and new carriers eagerly entering the market for quick and easy profits? Will government finally “back off” and let the market correct itself?

The answer is “No.”

Health care will continue to be a political issue with Democrats and Republicans. Both will renew their efforts to gain favor (votes) by interfering with our health care delivery system. The Democrats will push hard, and the Republicans will too, both in tandem. Each will tout that they are pushing harder than the other – “We are looking out for you!” will be the universal theme.

Ironically, the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is the Republicans take longer to get there. And, much to their discredit,  Republicans have the reputation of going along to get along. They too feel impelled to promise “free stuff” in return for votes. After all, with 50% of the American population getting “free stuff”now, it is hard to ignore that pivitol voting block. To do so means certain defeat at the ballot box. Courage and conviction no longer matter – pandering holds sway.

“Free stuff” will continue to include tax subsidies (free money) for the “poor”, expanded Medicaid for the “working poor”, coverage for pre-existing conditions, unlimited insurance maximum coverage, “free” preventitive care benefits, “free” contraceptives (paid for by insurance companies), expanded COBRA eligibility, and a myriad of other government mandates.

The free market (What is that Uncle Hermann?) will attempt to react strongly and quickly for fear politicians will beat them to the punch. But with so many mandates already in place, it will be a tough challenge for business. Running a marathon pulling a government-mandate wagon without wheels,  brimming with entitlements makes a successful run more than problematic.

Business must become revolutionaries, rebels, enemies of the status quo, or move to business friendly China (But Uncle Hermann, isn’t China a communist country?)

Health insurance brokers, those still left standing, will necessarily take on more of a consultant’s role than that of  a commission driven agent. To gain and retain business they must show value, something new to many of them. They will become a valuable resource to employers more so than at any time in the past. Health insurance brokers who have left the profession in the past three years will not be coming back. New entrants into the profession will be few, leaving a core of seasoned and aging professionals to practice in an evolving market. They will prosper.

There will be no new entrants on the carrier side. The reverse may hold true instead. Self-funding will gain more market share, with the BUCA’s transitioning to ASO business. TPA’s will see significant growth with new ones entering the market.

With ObamaCare’s demise next month, there will be anquished chest beating and strident media coverage through November. All hat but no cattle –  nothing will be promulgated on the government side until 2013 when the Republicans gain control of the White House and Senate. During this brief and temporary interlude the market will be scrambling for answers and preparing for battle.

Editor’s Note: If health insurance (Other People’s Money) was not a factor, health care costs would drop by 50% or more tomorrow morning. Hospitals would become more efficient, doctors would be free to practice without interference, managed care companies would be institutionalized in the Smithsonian.

 

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