In all the mail I’ve received over the years, never have I had a reader tell me, “You go, girl!” However, I’ve been fortunate enough to hear it several times in the last few weeks, since my EBN August editorial hit your mailboxes.

In it, I told Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius where to get off, after hearing she’d used the bully pulpit to try to get employers to implement the dependent care eligibility extension sooner than the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act legally required.

I’ve received a great response to the editorial — too good to keep to myself. In addition to publishing some of the mail in an upcoming issue of EBN, I thought I’d share a few letters with you on the blog as well.

Read what your peers had to say, and lend your own 2 pennies in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading and taking the time to write in.

I just read your editorial, "Dear Madam Secretary:  Back off!” (EBN August), and I am in total agreement with your comments.

Fortunately for them, the large, self-insured companies have the option of waiting until they have to comply.  Another blow to small business (i.e., fully-insured groups) is that many of the insurers (mine, in fact) have taken the stance that they will just cover adult "children" now, without giving the employers a choice.  We renewed on July 1, so technically we would otherwise have until July 1, 2011 to comply. On top of that, my insurer has told me that they have decided not to grandfather ANY plans.  So what little benefit we could have reaped from that, is not an option either! 

I only pray that come November we can elect some new officials who can see the madness that was passed and do something to change/repeal it.

—Jane White

I say, you go girl! The current administration must be of the mind that, by the time all of their programs start to negatively affect most taxpayers, they will be out of office and the next administration will have to deal with it.  How do they not see that all of their stimulus programs and supposed "protection" programs are going to cost us all in the long run?

While I will personally benefit by the [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act], I still believe as you do, that [the dependent eligibility extension] will only hurt our young adult population in the long run. Young adults also need to learn independence, so please stop legislating how we parent our children because you are just making it so much more difficult.

—Laurie Sands
Payroll and Benefits Administrator

I also agree that the government needs to back off and understand what they are doing to the cost of health care for employers and the administrative nightmare that they are creating.  It is obvious —based on their lack of detail and forthcoming answers to simple implementation and administration questions — that they don't have experience in the day to day administration of employee benefit programs, the complexities of integrating data systems, the data needs of employers and insurance carriers and the mixed messages they are sending to the general public on implementation.

Once everyone really grasps the ridiculousness of health care reform, it will be too late.  Based on a preliminary review of the options, public and private companies as well as public sector employers would be foolish not to pay the $2000 per employee penalty and move people to the "government" plan. Just a few of my thoughts having been in this business for 35 years!

—Jim Giel, Jr.
Assistant Vice President — Benefits
Dollar Bank
Pittsburgh, Pa.

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