: Opportunity Costs and Opportunities Lost: Business Perspectives on Health Care
Businesses are the backbone of the U.S. health insurance system, providing health benefits to nearly 175 million Americans. However, rising health care costs are placing a huge strain on our employer-based health insurance system. Premiums rose 87 percent between 2000 and 2006, with wages growing only by 20 percent during this period. Should trends continue, health benefit costs could exceed profits in Fortune 500 companies next year. This has caused both large and small businesses to make tough decisions between investing in their company or providing health insurance to their employees. It has also contributed to the rise in the number of un- and underinsured Americans.
To explore the dynamics of this problem, the Center for American Progress will host a discussion with academic experts and business leaders. First, Meena Seshamani, M.D., Ph.D. of Johns Hopkins University will provide an overview of findings from her report, Opportunity Cost and Opportunities Lost: Businesses Speak Out About the US Health Care System. This paper profiles the experiences of ten businesses—from multi-national corporations to small firms—as they purchase coverage for their employees and attempt to control health care costs. Paul Fronstin from the Employee Benefit Research Institute will provide a broader perspective on the dynamics of rising health care costs and vanishing employer-based coverage. Finally, small business owner, Sheila Ogle, CEO of MRPP Media Agency will describe the challenges posed to her business by health care costs. Senator Daschle, distinguished senior fellow at the Center, will moderate the panel discussion and audience questions.
Meena Seshamani, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Paul Fronstin, Senior Research Associate, Employee Benefit Research Institute
Sheila Ogle, CEO, MRPP Media Agency
Sen. Tom Daschle, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress