Employers need navigation for Obamacare

One southeastern Wisconsin executive recently told me that the question was posed to the members of his CEO Roundtable: “What is your company budgeting for employee health care in 2013?”

The executives looked at each other. Crickets.

“We all just threw up our hands and shrugged,” the executive said. “None of us know what to do.”

Indeed.

We’ll leave the intentions of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, for others to debate. However, BizTimes will make a targeted effort to provide editorial content and live event programming about the practical implications of the law in your real world in 2013.

Like the law itself, the editorial coverage will not be one-and-done. It will need to be nuanced and precise over time as the law is implemented.

Our effort to be a resource about Obamacare for the owners and managers of businesses throughout southeastern Wisconsin began with the publication of the BizTimes Employer’s Guide to the Affordable Care Act (www.biztimes.com/acaguide), which was published in July. However, looking back, we were just getting started. That’s because so much about the law and how it will be implemented was still unknown at the time.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the law is constitutional and President Barack Obama has been re-elected, it’s time to get real.

As Jon Rauser, president of The Rauser Agency Inc. in Milwaukee, advises his clients, “Get over it. It’s the law.”

And so it is.

BizTimes recently collected questions from readers about Obamacare. We will present those questions to two acknowledged experts and publish the experts’ responses in the cover story of the Dec. 17 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee magazine.

But our coverage cannot and will not end there.

As Rauser said, so often the answers to the questions about Obamacare remain, “We don’t know.”

That’s because so many of the clauses in the 2,000+ page law begin with phrases such as “The secretary (of Health and Human Services) shall…”

“We don’t yet know what that means,” Rauser said.

So, one of our key editorial missions of 2013 will be to keep our readers up to date about the terms of the implementation of the law, the real world implications of the law and the pragmatic options that employers will face.

Our editorial coverage on Obamacare will not be a lecture. It will be a conversation, and we invite you, the readers, to drive that discussion.

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.

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