Guardian Life Insurance Company of America is not into sugar coating.
Guardian, New York, has published its predictions for small businesses for 2012 — and it’s predicting that small business owners will have less access to capital than they do today.
Meanwhile, “election-year campaign rhetoric will create an atmosphere of tension and negativity,” Guardian says.
Guardian’s advice for small business owners trying to get through all of this is, “Be optimistic.”
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, SIR FREDDIE?
Paul Keckley points out that the current wave of federal health insurance reform is similar in some ways to the changes that rocked U.S. domestic airlines in 1978.
Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, Washington, recalls that the Carter administration reformed the airline industry that year by regulating less, rather than more.
Keckley notes that 8 of the 12 major U.S. airline companies that were operating in 1978 are no longer independent carriers today, and that airlines that did not exist in 1978 now fly about 18% of the miles flown by U.S. airlines.
Although some new airlines have flourished, “the top five today fly 79% of the total miles flown versus 64% in 1978,” Keckley says. “Consolidation seems a natural response in a competitive market wherein innovation in quality, service, and price-value are critical success factors.”
The U.S. health care and health insurance businesses are fragmented, and consolidation seems to be one way to increase efficiency, Keckley says.
Flying is more annoying in some ways than it was before 1978, but airlines continue to be very safe, and technology has improved some aspects of flying — such as efforts to make sure ticketed passengers get to the right destination, Keckley says.
Health care is different in some ways, but there, too, Keckley says he expects to get positive outcocmes, in most cases, without incident.
“In each, there is huge room for improvements to align price and value and, no doubt, continued consolidation as both industries adjust to their ‘new normal,’” Keckley says.