New health care act has businesses uncertain

Sandersville auto dealer Jimmy Childre Jr. likely knows more about the Affordable Care Act than most business owners. As CEO of Washington County Regional Medical Center, he also runs a hospital.

But when asked about the full impact of the new health care law on his dealership and on insurance for his 15 employees, even he is not 100 percent sure.

“It’s a complex act, and it has a lot of details, some of which aren’t clear to all of us yet,” he said.

Uncertainty, in a word, was the underlying theme of a health care forum put on by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Experts discussed subjects including health insurance exchanges, the Medicaid system and how wellness programs can hold down medical costs, furthering the understanding of those who attended, like Childre. But no one was predicting exactly how the law would play out before it’s to be in full effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Until then, said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who spoke at the forum, there will be“protracted uncertainty” as voters determine the next President and Congress ponders efforts to repeal the act.

The uncertainty isn’t helping business.

“We have companies all over the state, whether they’re small businesses or large businesses, that don’t want to make certain investments, they don’t want to look at expanding,” said Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber, “because of the uncertainty.”

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