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Federal healthcare reform education

Mississippi Society of CPAs leading efforts for accountants

As accountants strive to understand the federal healthcare reform legislation, the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants is giving guidance by helping educate its members. Programs on the healthcare act have been held in Tupelo, Jackson and Hattiesburg with William F. Taylor as the presenter.

Taylor, a CPA and community bank president of Renasant Bank in Water Valley, is a frequent continuing education speaker for accountants across the country. “CPAs are very concerned about healthcare reform issues,” he said. “The big thing is just the uncertainty of trying to figure out how it will affect them and their clients. It’s hard to put actual numbers on it at this time.”

He feels it is fortunate that there is some measure of guidance from the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Human Services for parts of the reform act that are effective now or that will become effective Jan. 1.

“It’s 2014 that will be the big question mark,” he said. “With the changes in Congress we don’t know exactly what will happen. I tell accountants to stop dreaming about repeal of this act and hope to be prepared for it.”

Taylor has expertise in employee benefits and often makes presentations on those issues, too. On the subject of federal healthcare reform, he finds the Kaiser Family Foundation (www.kff.org) to be a good resource for information that doesn’t take sides on the issues.

“The MSCPA has a healthcare services committee, which sponsors an annual seminar,” said Jack Coppenbarger, the association’s executive director. “This year it was held on Sept. 16 at the Pat McGowan Workforce Training Center at Holmes Community College in Ridgeland. We sponsored this seminar in conjunction with the Healthcare Financial Management Association.”

Under the leadership of conference chairman David Williams, topics presented were: status of the industry in light of reform legislation by Rick Gundling of Washington, D.C.; insurance evolution/ employer considerations under the legislation by Nita Miller of the Fox Everett Insurance Agency; tax considerations/tax exempt pitfalls by Marsha Dieckman of HORNE LLP; international healthcare with a focus on an African hospital by Cheryl Yennie of Protlethwaite & Netterville; and, a regulatory update from the state on the future of Medicaid by Francis Rullan of the State Medicaid Division. The day ended with a panel discussion titled “What keeps you up at Night?” as professionals discussed a variety of healthcare reform issues.

Past MSCPA president Ed Jones perhaps reflects the thoughts of other members with his hope that the federal law is repealed or at least heavily amended. “Decades of experience have shown us that private business manages economic sectors of the economy much better than does government,” he said. “I wish that Congress had addressed unworkable medical insurance issues, such as portability, pre-existing conditions and lifetime money policy limits before our federal government felt it necessary to throw out the baby with the bath water.”

The Pascagoula CPA is puzzled by why the government wants to move toward the European model of healthcare when he says European countries have finally learned that government cannot do it all.

“They’re moving toward the American model. This is one time we don’t want to meet in the middle,” he said.

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About Lynn Lofton

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