Health insurance has long played a prominent role in Ted Kennedy Jr.'s life.
And not only because his father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, spent his career pushing for affordable health care for all.
The younger Ted Kennedy learned the importance of health care when he was only 12 years old and he lost a leg to cancer. Since then, and despite what would normally be seen as a disability, Kennedy has gone on to a successsful career as an attorney who fights for the rights of the disabled.
Kennedy also is the president and co-founder of Marwood Group & Co., a healthcare-focused financial services firm with offices in New York City, Washington DC, London and Kuwait. Marwood Group specializes in, among other things, proprietary healthcare research.
On Thursday, he was the guest of the Governmental Affairs & the Health & Wellness Committee of the Hamden Chamber of Commerce, which hostd its annual legislative breakfast at Whitney Center.
Kennedy spoke about Federal healthcare reform and its impact on small businesses, including the critical issues facing businesses and employers, and the steps that they must take to prepare for the full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
There are three entities most concerned about the new legislation, Kennedy said: state governments, who are "acutely eager to figure out who to lower the costs," the department of Veteran's AFfairs, which runs its own health care system for disabled veterans, and private empoloyers who privide benefits to employees.
"Every single client has said that the greatest thing they are faced with is the uncertainty what regulators in Washington are going to do that would impact their reimbursment and very survval as company," he said
"People have been waiting to figure out what's going to happen with Obamacare and if they should make investments in what areas," he said.
"Healthcare has been a reactive business and we don't want to make investments when they go and change their minds in a year or two."
For instance, Mass. General recently spent more than a billion dollars on a medical records system while the rules of what the government is going to require in those types of systems are still being written, Kennedy sid. "You have to ask, why would someone invest billions when thy don't knw if the money they are spending is going to solve the problem?" he said.
There are several ways to deal with the rising health care costs, Kennedy said, including passing on some of the costs to employees in higher deducables and co-pays.
They also suggested a single payer system, which is an options more liberal democrats has supported but others see as socialized medicine.
A third way is bending the cost curve, he said.
"If we're not successful in trying to find out ways to make costing more efficient, we will end up only with a single payer situation or employers getting out of the business of providing health care benefits," he said.
"They will give them a voucher and let them go on the private market and buy health care," he said.
"Really, what Obamacare is trying to do is get the priavate market to compete against each other," Kennedy said.