BUSINESS SURVEY: Health law ideas mixed

The nation’s attempt to reform health insurance remains controversial nearly a year after it passed Congress, a recent Review-Journal survey of business owners and managers found.

More than half, or 52.4 percent, of participants in the survey, conducted online in December and January, said they want Congress to repeal the health-care law, while 27.1 percent said they don’t want the law rescinded. Another 19.2 percent said they aren’t sure what the law’s fate should be.

Rod Leavitt, president of Leavitt Insurance Agency in Las Vegas, brokers health-insurance policies for a living. The law definitely has its positive attributes, such as extending insurance to cover more Americans, Leavitt said.

But the reform effort does bring problems, he added: The ban on denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, for example, would be roughly equivalent to allowing homeowners to buy property insurance after their house burned down.

"That (ban) just violates the whole principle of insurance," Leavitt said. "I know people who couldn’t get care for their child, and I know it’s heart-wrenching, but at the same time, we’re either talking about insurance, or we’re talking about funding health care. We could decide everyone has the right to health care and fund it, but that’s not what this is. Basically, we’re talking about providing another entitlement, and if the government is going to do that, they ought to say that’s what they’re doing, rather than say the health insurers are acting irresponsibly."

So count Leavitt among the majority of respondents who’d like to see the law repealed. That’s because striking down the legislation altogether would allow a "fresh start to rewrite it in a way that, No. 1, would be wiser, and No. 2, would be better accepted by the public," he said. "A lot of people are unhappy that the law passed without being read through."

Any attempt at starting over would ideally drop barriers to buying policies across state lines, Leavitt said. Nevadans can now buy coverage from just five insurers; upping that to a dozen carriers would likely bring better terms to policyholders here as companies compete for business, he said.

Expanding health savings accounts and other measures that boost cost awareness among patients would also help curb the rising price of care, Leavitt said.

For Charles Ware, executive director of the Professional Fitness Institute in Las Vegas, the reform law could work, with a little tinkering. He said he’s not sure if Congress should peel back the law, but he does believe it would benefit from an added emphasis on preventive care.

Ware, whose company educates and certifies personal trainers, said he’s also concerned that the law doesn’t contain enough details regarding reimbursements for such trainers, as well as other members of the allied-heath field, including physical therapists, massage therapists and medical assistants.

"I think the law needs to define those areas a little more. We want to be sure the services we provide will be needed in the future, and we want to see if the people we work with will have a sustainable job 10 years from now," Ware said.

And Bob Burley, president and broker-owner of FMI Business and Real Estate Specialists in Las Vegas, said he thinks the law is a great idea — if only the country had the money to fund it. But the nation has $14 trillion in debt, and Burley, who helps people buy and sell small businesses, said he’s concerned that such a fiscal situation will curb entrepreneurship and harm the economy in the long run.

"Absolutely, we should do health reform, but not right now," Burley said. "We should come back to it when we have money in the coffers, or at least some way to finance it."

Even if a majority of companies believe the reform law should be repealed, they’re less unified on how they’ll respond to the legislation.

The survey asked business owners and managers whether the law’s guarantee of universal insurance coverage would encourage them to stop providing policies to their workers once the law takes full effect in 2014.

A plurality of 40.5 percent of respondents said they aren’t sure if they’d drop their company’s health insurance. Another 29.5 percent said they wouldn’t eliminate coverage, and 20.4 percent said they would.

Leavitt said he’s heard from a number of clients who said they’d rather pay the fine for not covering employees once the mandate kicks in, because the fee would be cheaper than the cost of a policy. Others have told him they’d drop coverage but offer a raise of, say, $300 a month, so that employees could buy their own coverage.

Leavitt added that he’s not sure how coverage will look at his agency in three years, but he said as long as he’s selling health insurance, it would be "hypocritical" not to buy coverage for his workers at the same time he’s urging clients to purchase plans.

To help serve policy-buying needs, Leavitt said his agency is considering setting up its own insurance exchanges, similar to those the federal government has asked the states to establish, though he’s not sure his company will be allowed to compete once the government publishes the final regulations.

Burley said he’d continue to offer health insurance to any employee who wants it.

And Ware sounded especially certain about the approach he’ll take.

"We would keep health insurance. It’s one of those added benefits that employees value," he said. "When we’re interviewing people for full-time employment, our health-insurance coverage is always one of their first and foremost questions. As an organization, insurance coverage is important to building a positive culture."

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like