Friday, August 9, 2013

Obamacare Sparks New Businesses

In the Business Section of last week's Time magazine, I read an article by Christopher Matthews about how the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has begun to have an effect in the business world, i.e. by spawning start-up businesses producing new products.  This is important.  This is good for the American economy, right?  So why do the Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to pass bills that would take the ACA off the books and out of our lives?  I thought Republicans were pro-business.

Ah, yes.  What was I thinking?  The Republicans' attempt to stop the ACA in its tracks has nothing to do with business.  It's all about politics.  The Republicans didn't develop the ACA, a Republican president didn't push it through Congress and sign it into law, and the Republicans can't take credit for it.  After all, most of them voted against it.  I suspect that we can measure just how good the ACA is by the level of negative response from the Republicans.

Let's take a look at some of the start-ups Christopher Matthews mentions in his Time article:

-- IntelligentM makes a bracelet that monitors hospital workers' behavior to insure that they properly wash their hands in order to prevent infections in the hospital.

-- AdHere Tech monitors patients to ensure they are taking their medications.

-- Care at Hand has developed a mobile app to help home-care workers identify patients who may need more immediate care.

-- Blueprint Health which acts as a start-up health-care business incubator

-- Zenefits acts as an insurance broker for small businesses as well as offering HR and payroll services.

There are more start-ups that Matthews describes.  Because of the way the ACA is forcing the insurance industry and health-care businesses to change their business model, it is making way for innovation.  That is important for our economy.  That's a good thing, right?

The ACA focuses on outcomes, not on fees for services rendered.  The ACA also stipulates that insurance companies must -- must -- spend 80% of their revenue on medical care for their customers, and pay for salaries and other expenses out of the other 20%.  Profit comes out of that 20%, too.  I like that.  I would also like to see hospitals, doctors and other medical service providers get real about what they charge and change their master charge lists.

I look forward to beginning my insurance browsing online in October.  After listening to so much hand-wringing and howling about the ACA being bad for the country and for people, I welcome its implementation to show the hand-wringers that they were only anxious about change and didn't recognize a good thing when they saw it because of their anxiety.  Remember, change is good.....

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