Most medical practices are small businesses, and face the same challenges as other small businesses when it comes to health insurance coverage for their employees. Yesterday, USA Today published an article highlighting, well, the dismal opportunities small businesses have to control health care costs. Association health plans, which would allow businesses to gather up into buying consortiums, has lanquished in Congress for over a decade. Nothing new, and the “pro-business” ruling party still hasn’t done anything. So here we sit.One small business owner, Michael Kogon of Decision 6 in Atlanta, put it well in the paper’s new small business blog:
I believe employers should provide health care for employees and I believe it should be required by law! I realize this is unpopular, but I feel if someone works, they have earned the piece of mind that health coverage provides. I think health care costs are an overblown issue and that many employers are taking a free pass. Our health care costs — of which we pay 100% of our employees´ cost — is less than 3.5% of our total expenses. I certainly understand that that can and does put pressure on margins, but at the same time there are other ways to reduce costs, such as managing IT systems more effectively, joining trade groups with association plans.
I also believe that many employees consumption spend vs. taking responsibility for themselves. Someone where designer labels, new fashion sneakers, listening to one of Apple’s iPods, saying they can´t afford health care while sipping their Starbucks is unacceptable. So is the employee smoking a Camel. I am very against a national health care single-payer program. I think it off loads accountability from employers and employees alike: Plus, I don´t want the same people who run FEMA to run my health care!
I posted a comment as well, congratulating Mr. Kogon on saying it well. When there are limited resources, people have to make decisions. SUVs, ATVs, 52″ TVs – no problem. Go to a doctor? Problem.
The debate on health coverage is one that is of great importance to physicians and practice organizations both as physicians, and as business owners. Join in – you can also post comments (subject to approval) on the USA Today Small Business Connection blog.