Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: Uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act on the minds of CEOs

This week’s question to the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: How is the ongoing uncertainty around the future of the Affordable Care Act affecting your business?

Prices for healthcare continue to rise and the congressional debacle handling ACA reform has made lives miserable, from healthcare providers to payees. As a result, I moved to my husband’s policy, saving the Chamber a substantial sum. Our other staff have individual policies, but are still young enough to be in the “affordable” category.

Steven N. Adkins, president and CEO, Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

The significant increases in the cost of healthcare coverage, which may or may not be due to the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act, affect our business as well as our employees who face higher premiums. We invest the time to educate our employees on the changing healthcare landscape so that they are informed regarding changes and we work to absorb much more of the cost of healthcare for employees and their families than the typical Florida business. This is something that I am extremely proud of.

Ron Antevy, president and CEO, e-Builder

Many of my competitors take Medicaid to work with special needs children, and the recent proposals to end Obamacare mean many of those children will no longer have coverage. That doesn’t affect Progressive Behavioral directly, because we don’t take Medicaid, but it does negatively impact the community we serve, and so we have been working to raise awareness of the disastrous impact of Obamacare repeal on special needs children.

Maria Arizmendi, behavior analyst and president, Progressive Behavioral Science

With healthcare comprising nearly 18 percent of the gross national product, the lack of resolution of the Affordable Care Act further adds to consumer and market uncertainty. Today, events in one sector are having an ever-increasing effect on other sectors. We are indeed more interconnected than any other time in history.

Noah Breakstone, founder and managing partner, BTI Partners

We take the wellness of our lawyers and staff very seriously. We offer our employees and staff a generous health insurance program in conjunction with a robust voluntary and free wellness program that includes biometric screening, A1C screening for prediabetic conditions, flu and pneumonia shots, weight loss programs, including counseling, chair yoga, reimbursement for FitBits, gym membership discounts and reimbursements and awards for the winners of fitness challenges. We are hopeful the new healthcare law will not impair our ability to provide the best in healthcare to our lawyers and staff.

Bowman Brown, partner and chairman of the Executive Committee and the Financial Services Practice Group of Shutts & Bowen

Hoping for the best.

Patricia Elizee, managing partner, Elizee Law Firm

It’s not. We work to see that our employees have appropriate care independent of what the government does or doesn’t do. However, the debacle of the way healthcare is delivered in this country is scary as hell to us and, I hope, everyone else; we cannot continue to spend 18 percent of every dollar of GDP on healthcare while delivering poorer results than other industrialized countries. The ACA did very little to address this and the current proposals don’t appear to either.

Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

We are genuinely concerned for the population that receives their healthcare through the ACA. Miami Jewish Health always takes on the most challenging of cases, because it is an important element of what we do. As a mission-based, nonprofit provider, Miami Jewish Health has a significant percentage of Medicaid-based clients. I strive to work closely with our government liaisons so that they, too, can hear the needs of this under-served population.

Jeffrey Freimark, president and CEO, Miami Jewish Health

The Children’s Trust is in the business of improving the lives of children and families. When children and families are healthy and have access to medical care so they may remain healthy, we are better positioned to provide all the additional wraparound services children need to reach their full potential. Anything that could destabilize insurance access and swell the pool of uninsured children will add stress to the school health clinics we currently fund, as well as increase demand on this community’s strained public health system.

James Haj, president and CEO, The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County

Since even Congress does not yet know what the future of the Act will be, it would be premature for me to say how it would affect us. NSU has a strong commitment to providing quality healthcare at a fair price to our employees, and that will not change. We are also committed to the South Florida community by providing outstanding healthcare through our more than 20 clinics in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, which not only serve as a real-world teaching opportunity for our students, but give access to people who may otherwise not be able to see a doctor, optometrist, dentist or other healthcare provider.

George Hanbury, president and CEO, Nova Southeastern University

The ongoing uncertainty of the ACA not only impacts our overall business expense projections and forecasts, it also directly impacts our team members who must make critical decisions for their entire family’s health and medical insurance needs. It is vitally important that this uncertainty be addressed at once. Indeed, I would like to recommend that our representatives in Washington be required under the law to participate in whatever healthcare plan is crafted and agreed upon.

Bob Hohenstein, president and CEO, Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and Exposition

Like many businesses, we’ve experienced a rise in healthcare premiums since the ACA took effect. We value the importance of keeping our employees healthy and we understand the benefits of expanding insurance coverage for the greater good, but I also think there are improvements that can be made to the ACA. There’s no such thing as perfect legislation, so I’m hopeful that our elected officials will find a way to enhance the legislation while keeping coverage intact for those who need it.

Aabad Melwani, president, Rickenbacker Marina and managing principal, Marina PARC

With rising healthcare costs, we are monitoring developments while actively promoting behaviors that support health and wellness for all employees. We are currently rolling out a great initiative called BCPlays, in which our senior leaders model healthy behaviors via employee group exercises to include walking, running, tennis, Zumba, line dancing, and more. Our Student Life Centers also organize activities across our campuses to encourage healthy choices and practices among our students.

Avis Proctor, vice president of academic affairs and president, North Campus at Broward College

Our company pays 100 percent of employees’ health insurance premiums, so our team is not directly impacted — but it definitely could impact our residents. As the largest affordable housing developer in Florida, Housing Trust Group caters to working families, including some of the most vulnerable populations. A complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act could have severe negative consequences for them. Many families on the financial brink are just one medical emergency away from losing their home or apartment — which would make the current affordable housing crisis even worse. So obviously, we hope that Congress and this administration can work together to achieve a balanced, thoughtful and equitable solution.