Midland Businesses Learn to Deal With New Health Care Reform

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--Small businesses make up over 90% of businesses in Texas.  Local businessmen and women want and need to know how these health care changes are going affect them and their employees. Who better to share that information with them then people who know best?

"We brought in a couple of people that are experts in the field," Rob Cunningham, President and CEO of the Midland Chamber of Commerce, said.

Thanks in part to the efforts of the Midland Chamber, small business owners, managers, leaders, even employees sat through a three hour, two-part seminar talking about, what to some is, a very touchy subject.

"We have a Governmental Affairs Committee, made up primarily of local business people. They are keenly aware of new health care legislation that is extremely complicated. There is a need to educate our members, in terms of the rules and the regulations. They're going to be mandated by the Act," Cunningham explained.

Dr. Dan Stultz is the President and CEO of the Texas Hospital Association. The Tall City was just one of about 50 stops he'll make across the state, talking about health care reform facts and myths.

"One of the misconceptions is, in some way, this is a Medicare fix. This doesn't have anything to do with Medicare, in any real sense. The second thing is, it's going to have an immediate impact. It's going to take several years for the Health Care Reform Bill to have an impact in Texas," Stultz commented.

Cunningham says, some are playing a game of wait and see what happens in Washington. But local business leaders need to know what to expect in the future and not lose focus on the present. 

"As we speak, they're taking another look at the health care legislation. There'll be some efforts to change that. We're not concerned about that. We're concerned about what employers are facing right now and how they can meet those challenges," Cunningham said.

According to Dr. Stultz, many are curious about what the new insurance implications will be and what Congress might do to change them, "A Republican House, they're already making noise about different things. The angst, if you will, is still high, that we're not finished yet. What we see is not what we're going to have in three years."

Like them or not, some big changes are on the way. The thing West Texans can rest easy about when they go to bed at night is they won't wake to find a brand new world in the morning.

"Some of the big things they're talking about on a national level, we probably won't see for a year or two, at best," Stultz said.

Cunningham emphasized this seminar was not to debate the current health care legislation but get helpful information from the experts. He said debate is a topic for another seminar.