• April 2010

Now that Obama's health care bill has passed, what does it mean for you?

By Scott Golden
 CFO and co-founder
Golden & Cohen,

After much drama, the controversial health care bill was approved by both the House and Senate. Here’s what you can expect.

The Good

1. People who are uninsured now will have a chance to be insured. Some will be subsidized and others may not. The bottom line is that everyone will have access to health insurance. Specifically:

• There will eventually be no limitations for pre-existing conditions.
• There won’t be any caps in terms of maximum benefits for the insured.
• No one will be dropped because they are sick.
• Ratings will not be based on health anymore.
• People on Medicare will see their donut holes fading away.

2. Americans became very engaged in the debate; people cared dramatically, one way or the other.

3. Despite the fact that this bill is serious business, the process has been fascinating — if not downright fun — to watch. Many of the late night talk shows threw out any semblance of being objective and went straight to their own bias. I forecast that it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.

The Bad

1. Hold on to your wallet, because you are going to pay more in taxes. There are not many people who like the idea of paying higher taxes, but this is what we will be getting in various forms.

2. Health insurance costs are also likely to rise as nothing has been done to address controlling costs.

3. Unfortunately, the accounting system used by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) does not address certain realities such as not using certain sources of revenue to offset non-related costs. Also, the CBO can only analyze what it is given for that particular bill and not incorporate related bills in order to understand the real cost of certain items. An example is the Medicare cuts, which never occur, that are addressed in a different bill. That bill directly relates to this bill, but that effect is ignored in the accounting process — this is not good, nor is it realistic.

4. Although it was entertaining to watch, the bad news is that the entire process to pass the bill was a big turn-off to most people. Approval ratings reflect the fact that Americans believe Congress has reached a new low, in part due to a process that damaged our confidence in our politicians. It is clear that bi-partisanship is only a dream at this point.

The Uncertain

Who will win big, who will lose big? Only time will tell. There is great uncertainty about the CBO projections with something as complicated as health care. If the CBO underestimates the revenue producing aspects of the bill, we will add to the spiraling debt, which is getting unmanageable. If the CBO underestimates the positive effects of the bill, we could have done more. Stay tuned.

About Scott Golden, co-founder and CFO
Golden & Cohen, www.golden-cohen.com

Scott Golden is recognized as an industry leader in the small to mid-size insurance market, and ranks among the area’s top producers according to the Washington Business Journal’s Annual List.

He received a BS in Marketing from the University of Maryland in 1985, an MBA from George Washington University in 1990, and later a JD and LLM in taxation from the University of Baltimore. His advanced academic and legal degrees enable him to evaluate local and national mandates in conjunction with helping his clients prepare and implement the proper strategy.

Supporting the community is important to Scott, who advocates about the importance of lower health care rates on behalf of his clients. He has served on the Green Acres School Board of Trustees and sits on the board of ALS-DC in Maryland.
Scott is a native of upstate New York. He has been married to Golden & Cohen co-owner Stephanie Cohen since 1989. They have two children.

For more information about Scott’s insurance firm, visit www.golden-cohen.com contact Scott Golden by email at scott@golden-cohen.com.