Whenever you go running at night, what do you take with you? Your keys? Your ID? How about you cell phone? Well for me, I have always added that one extra important wallet item- my health insurance ID card. It’s a repercussion of being the prodigy of an insurance broker. My family currently owns and operates a successful insurance brokerage firm in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. Before that, my mother worked for a global benefits brokerage for many years, specializing in health, life, dental, and vision plans to name a few. I guess you can say I basically grew up around knowing the importance of possessing healthcare, and I become genuinely excited when I have the opportunity to talk about it.
When most people think about healthcare reform, they usually analyze from the perspective of the individual. The lynchpin that holds many arguments together is that healthcare should be made available to all citizens. My research topic could not be further from this avenue. In fact, it’s going to focus on another group in society- the businesses that broker and offer the coverage, and the insurance companies that create the plans. When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was passed in March of 2010, it greatly shook up the entire healthcare industry. Some may argue that the legislation went too far. Others may say it did not go far enough. However, it indisputably did do one thing- it put an astronomical amount of strain on the businesses in an unstable economy where the healthcare industry accounts for roughly one-sixth of the country’s gross domestic product.
One of the most infamous statements made about the passage of PPACA came from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) when she said, “We have to pass this bill so you can find out what is in it.” Well now that the 2,409 page bill has been enacted into law, businesses and insurance companies are finding out exactly what is in it… and they are not liking it. In fact, it may be one of the largest profit vacuums many businesses have ever seen. As an accounting and finance major, I find analyzing the financial position of companies and evaluating projections for future earnings to be interesting, both of which effect the state of the economy. So, if businesses are losing profits, that means they are forced to either partake in layoffs or hiring freezes. If this occurs, unemployment surely increases, and the economy continues to tumult into a deeper recession. So the question is: is it possible to strengthen the economy through substantial healthcare reform that does not harm businesses and that lowers the cost of health insurance without increasing the federal deficit? My research will target this through the analysis of the current healthcare reform’s impact on the insurance companies that set the rates, the firms that broker out the plans, and the companies that offer the coverage to their employees.
I look forward to meeting everyone and discussing the many topics throughout the program.