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Depending on your source of news and information, you either believe that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is destined for repeal or almost  certainly will be overturned by the Supreme Court, or that this hallmark legislation was a much needed, albeit imperfect, first step in helping improve healthcare delivery in the nation.

Regrettably, the news reporting and opinion “analysis” fail to provide a full picture.  We tend to listen to what we agree with – when we have a choice. At the core, I am really no different, but as a former reporter, I tend to visit the other side.  I rather enjoy pushing myself out of my safe zone.  Safe can produce amazing mediocrity and more often than not I am pleasantly surprised with what I find — at times, new facts or a different perspective that helps shape my point of view.

There is one survey that you may find surprising if you are pro-business conservative:  Only three percent of business leaders surveyed by the HR Policy Association favored repeal of the PPACA.  The HR Policy Association consists of over 300 of the largest corporations doing business in the United States and globally. Collectively, their members employ more than 20 million employees worldwide and have a market capitalization of more than $7.5 trillion.

Writing in Human Resource Executive, Jared Shelly, benefits columnist for that publication, reported that businesses did offer several suggestions on how to make the bill better:

  • Remove the 1099 reporting requirement for vendors paid more than $600 or more.  They argue that large businesses could be forced to issue millions of 1099s each year. 
  • Create limiting stipulations for PPACA’s provisions for coverage of children on their parent’s benefit plan up to the age of 26, excluding those who get coverage from their own employer or those who are married.  Businesses feel this provision will increase their health benefit costs.
  • Move away from the hospital/physician fee-for-service model, a system that fuels dysfunction.  “There is a lot of care that isn’t needed and can be downright harmful,” said Helen Darling, President of the Washington-based National Business Group on Health. “We are paying for services whether they are needed or not, whether they are effective or not.  It’s a mess," she told Mr. Shelly.

It is a fool’s errand to make firm predictions regarding what Congress and the Supreme Court will or will not do.  Unless there is a major shift in political power or the Supreme Court rules that the use of the commercial clause of the Constitution to support mandates for insurance purchase is unconstitutional, PPACA, while not perfect, is apparently better in the eyes of business than doing nothing.

© 2011 John Gregory Self

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