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"Here We Go Again" by Jon Hurst

Does it come as a surprise to anyone that just as the reform is ready to be implemented, some of those that benefit by putting more health care dollars in the system are starting to once again bash the employers that don’t happen to be taxpayer or insurance premium funded?

Our local economy is flat, and our state has the distinction of being the only one in the country to lose population two years running. Now some of those that would like to see more health care facilities built, organized and more uncontrolled dollars pumped into the system, are again taking swipes at the private sector employer community.

An economy based primarily upon tax dollars and health care dollars is not reality if we want to move our state forward. The health care reform has the potential to be a positive force in our future if we reduce premium costs for small businesses, keep red tape and bureaucracy at a minimum, and allow our employers to still be able to compete with those from the next state and from around the world.

The reason that no one has paid the $295 employer assessment to date is because the law isn’t even fully implemented yet. How many pay it in the future will be directly attributable to how well we lower costs for everyone, and whether we force comparable premiums for the little guy versus big government and big business. No employer that wants to attract and retain good employees will want to forgo health insurance offerings as long as they can afford to do so while keeping the doors open.

I look forward to the day that: 1) small business premiums are reduced to levels equal to those of big business and big government (so that we are all on a fair and level playing field); 2) providers are held accountable, and; 3) the decision making is truly in the hands of the purchasers of health care services.

Jon B. Hurst is the President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts; a statewide employer association with 3000 members.

This program aired on May 18, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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