Representatives from Medical Mutual of Ohio provided farmers at Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual meeting with an overview of a number of new provisions in the nation’s new health care law and an outlook on the politics surrounding it.
The overall goal of health care reform was to get as many people covered by a health care plan as possible, explained Patricia Decensi, senior corporate counsel for MMO.
That was done by establishing mandates for individuals to purchase health insurance and for large employers to provide insurance or pay a penalty. Incentives were offered for smaller employers to provide coverage.
Decensi said it is possible employers may find it more cost effective to pay the penalty than provide coverage. She also highlighted an expansion in the number of people who will be eligible for Medicaid.
“That puts a big burden on states,” she said.
Decensi said the law has new requirements for insurers when providing coverage, and it also contained many new consumer protections, some of which were already provided by MMO.
Asked by a farmer how the federal government could afford the bill, MMO Director of Legal Affairs David Fogarty simply replied “It can’t.”
“It’s possible that parts of this program may be postponed,” he said.
He added that a possible House vote to repeal the law would likely be symbolic, since neither the Senate nor President Obama is expected to follow suit. He said there is the possibility that a lawsuit could reach the Supreme Court that challenges whether the federal government has the authority to require people to purchase health coverage.
He also noted that the new mandates for insurance companies to provide coverage would only be viable if consumers are mandated to purchase coverage.
- For resources and more information on the law, visit medmutual.com and click on “Healthcare Reform Info.”