A.I.M. and the Massachusetts employer community are proud to be at the forefront of the state's landmark health care reform program. We are pleased that its implementation is proceeding reasonably smoothly, and that it has already achieved a significant part of its intended purpose of reducing the number of the uninsured. There will continue to be challenges, both for individuals and employers, particularly beginning on July 1st, when both of the new employer responsibilities become effective.
The progress we are making, however, only re-emphasizes the imperative need to address the cost issues that were largely bypassed in framing the reform act. Health insurance costs have been the number-one issue for employers for years; more recently they emerged as a major problem for municipal governments; with the individual mandate looming, we are now hearing complaints about high costs even from health care and social service advocates who long ignored or depreciated our concerns. The board of the Commonwealth Heath Insurance Connector Authority, on which I serve, has struggled to devise "affordable" health plans to extend coverage without undue financial burden. A.I.M. will continue its work by convening the state's leading employers around cost containment issues - but we hope to do so as part of a broad public deliberation in which all parties and interests participate.
Richard Lord is President and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts
This program aired on May 5, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.