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Nov 27, 201212:41 PMThe Bottom Line

with contributors from Associated Bank

Health care reform and the 2012 election

Health care reform and the 2012 election

(page 1 of 2)

With the 2012 elections behind us, the near-term fate of health care reform just became much clearer. With the re-election of President Obama and continued Democratic control of the Senate, the prospects of the law being repealed are virtually nil. And with the Obama administration now responsible for implementing its signature piece of legislation, it’s a safe bet that the major components of the law will go into effect in 2014 as scheduled.

We have been encouraging employers to begin their health care reform strategic planning for some time, but many employers have understandably been reluctant to do so given the ongoing uncertainty over the law. Now that we know that the law will largely be implemented as written, that strategic planning takes on a new sense of urgency. Employers must start making concrete decisions about what changes are needed for their health plans (and potentially their workforce and business models) to minimize the impact and take advantage of the opportunities under the law.

Of course, there are still many details that need to be worked out in the form of yet-to-be-issued regulations, as well as in the creation of much of the infrastructure – most significantly, the state health insurance exchanges – contemplated by the law. There is also the question of how the health insurance, health care, and employment marketplaces will respond. Employers should brace themselves for a flood of information as government regulators, market players, and other employers start making final decisions in anticipation of the new landscape.

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