The Big Story Blog

First person: An employer's perspective

Posted at 1:24 PM on June 28, 2012 by Molly Bloom
Filed under: Health

Editor's Note: MPR's Molly Bloom reached out to Minnesotans in our Public Insight Network for perspective on the Supreme Court's decision upholding much of the Affordable Care Act.

Scott Ward, Principal/Owner of 4Ward Associates

New Image.JPGAs an employer, I appreciate the option in a few years of deciding whether to provide insurance through our company (extremely expensive) or pay the tax (a half million dollar savings for our small company).

Hopefully, when that choice comes, there are good choices for the individuals and families for less expensive insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. If not, many of us may be paying a relatively inexpensive tax instead of paying for the insurance.

In many small businesses including my own, health insurance is the number one overhead expense and it continues to rise every year. Employees struggle to pay the portion the company doesn't pay.

On their own, most lower and middle class individuals and families couldn't afford insurance. Insurance rates are high because medical costs are high. Medical costs are high because my employee population is aging and younger, healthier employees forgo the expense of insurance.

We're also trying to undo decades of unhealthy lifestyles that have a lot of us dealing with chronic conditions. Since a lot of health habits are due to culture and peer pressure, we need to communally balance the risk by having healthy and unhealthy people insured, just as we do with automobile insurance with low-risk and high-risk drivers, so the individual mandate is necessary ... as well as other reforms to try and keep costs down.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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