VOL. 126 | NO. 135 | Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Seminar To Detail Reform’s Effect on Biz
By Aisling Maki
Philip Johnson is partner with Argyle Benefits Consultants LLC, a chartered life underwriter and certified employee benefits specialist, so he more than understands the ins and outs of federal health care reform, including how the legislation will impact large and small businesses, as well as individuals.
“It’s a very confusing issue,” he said. “There are some capabilities that are included, some penalties included, and rules and regulations included in this bill. For businesses, you’ve got to do certain things.”
Johnson will address the topic at The Daily News’ Healthcare Reform Seminar, set for Thursday, July 14, at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 1934 Poplar Ave.
Johnson said his speech will focus on the effects of cost for employers and the differences in rules and compliance issues for large and small businesses, from tax credits for small businesses that meet certain requirements to associated penalties starting in 2014 – which he calls the “trigger date for things to really change” – for businesses not offering health insurance to employees.
Johnson said he’ll discuss the goals of health care reform, the ways those goals are being implemented and what the effects have been since The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Johnson said he plans to open with a brief discussion about the factors that precipitated the need for health care reform in the first place.
“The drivers behind health care reform are much more complicated than me telling you what the bill includes,” he said. “The reality is the need for health care reform is a reflection of the fact that costs are going up. But we as consumers make certain decisions related to our lifestyle and our environment, and I’m going to touch on this.”
Johnson said he will discuss direct effects on cost for business owners, including costs associated with preventative care and expanded dependent care.
The seminar will also include a panel discussion featuring David Elliott, vice president of managed care for Baptist Memorial Health Care and CEO of Baptist Health Services Group; James Terwilliger, managing director of Equity Capital Markets for investment banking firm Duncan-Williams Inc.; and Dr. Scott Morris, founder and executive director of the Memphis-based Church Health Center, the largest faith-based clinic for the working poor in the United States.
“While many people have engaged in the academic debate about how to provide care to the underserved, Dr. Morris has actually stepped up to the plate and filled the void for thousands of people in our community who would not have had otherwise received it,”
said Denise Burke, an attorney with Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada PLLC’s Healthcare Regulatory & Transactions Group, who will be attending the seminar and also speaking briefly. “While many of us have been trying to help with the problem, he actually steps up and takes care of patients.”
Burke said equal access to care is “a complicated issue that we’ve been trying to solve for years. If anyone had really good answers, I guess we wouldn’t keep asking the question…the great challenge is to keep the great care that we have but make it affordable.”
Burke said the United States is an innovator in health care, but she said many people fear new regulations could decrease incentives for companies working to find innovative solutions to treat complicated medical conditions.
“The system we have is what eliminated whooping cough and measles and polio, and sometimes we forget how great that system is, and we need to preserve companies’ willingness to invest in treatments and technologies,” she said. “There’s concern that some of the proposals on the table will thwart those efforts. It’s a complicated problem, but it’s a system that’s going to take care of all of us when we’re old, so everyone’s got a stake in it.”
Online registration for the July 14 Healthcare Seminar continues through Thursday. Tickets will also be available at the door. For more information and to register, visit www.memphisdailynews.com/seminar.