Business leaders optimistic that health insurance reform will cut costs

Reform of the health insurance system could save businesses millions within the next decade, the Business Roundtable said late this week.

The Business Roundtable includes corporate giants like Boeing, Verizon and Eastman Kodak; roundtable members are responsible for the health insurance of 35 million Americans.

"Healthcare reform done right could reduce the growth rate of healthcare costs - not just for government, but for the private sector as well," said the roundtable's Consumer Health and Retirement Initiative chairman and Eastman Kodak CEO Antonio Perez.

The group estimates that healthcare reform could save businesses $3,000 per employee by 2019, adding that healthcare costs should be growing at about 4 percent annually rather than the current 10 percent.

But, cautioned Perez, the reform bills produced by Congress aren't perfect. A government insurance plan could underpay healthcare providers, forcing them to charge more to private insurers. And penalties for people who shirk health insurance should be stronger than current bills would require so that consumers are not tempted to take on coverage only when they fall ill.

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Posted: November 13, 2009

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