Posts Tagged ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’

It’s the Jobs, Stupid.

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

President Obama recently took a short stroll from the White House and through Lafayette Park to give a speech in what might be termed enemy territory – the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The subject was jobs and what the Chamber can do to jump start hiring by the companies that form its membership.  Noting that American companies are sitting on approximately $2 trillion in cash, the president challenged the Chamber to invest some of that money by hiring Americans who are out of work.

“Many of your own economists and salespeople are now forecasting a healthy increase in demand.  So I want to encourage you to get in the game,” Obama said, referencing the tax credits his administration negotiated to spur new investments.  “As you all know, it is investments made now that will pay off as the economy rebounds.  And as you hire, you know that more Americans working means more sales, greater demand and higher profits for your companies.  We can create a virtuous cycle.  Not every regulation is bad; not every regulation is burdensome on business,” he said.  “Moreover, the perils of too much regulation are matched by the dangers of too little.”

Relations between the president and the Chamber – one of the nation’s most powerful lobbying groups — have been chilly and the speech was an effort to find common ground.  Since the Democrats’ defeat in the November mid-term election, Obama has been trying to mend fences with big business.  One part of that strategy was to hire Bill Daley, a former Chamber board member and JP Morgan Chase executive, as his new chief of staff to replace Rahm Emanuel.  Additionally, he named General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head an economic advisory panel dedicated to job creation.  According to the president, “I will go anywhere anytime to be a booster for American business, American workers and American products, and I don’t charge a commission.”  

The Chamber gave the president a warm welcome, with the organization’s president Thomas Donohue expressing the body’s “absolute commitment” to working with the White House on turning around the economy and creating new jobs.  “Our focus is finding common ground to ensure America’s greatness in the 21st century,” he said.  “America works best when we work together.”

The president’s remarks came on a day when several Illinois firms warned that they are planning to lay off employees or close facilities. For example, Kmart is planning to close several stores in Illinois.  Gold Standard Baking, Inc., will close a commercial bakery in Chicago, slashing 73 jobs.  Another 67 employees are likely to be laid off at Itasca-based C. D. Listening Bar Inc., which sells DVDs, CDs, books and video games online at DeepDiscount.com.  AGI North America, LLC, a paperboard box manufacturing company in Jacksonville, is closing at the end of March, putting 70 employees out of work.  Gray Interplant Systems, Inc. – a warehousing and storage company in Peoria and Mossville – is planning to lay off 167 employees in April.

So why are American companies not hiring – or not hiring on their home turf?  According to the Chamber’s Donohue, it’s a variety of reasons, including new regulations contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. Additionally, companies are holding onto their cash to fund future acquisitions.  Consolidation makes new regulatory burdens easier to bear.  Once companies’ regulatory costs are clear and under control, they can begin hiring, he said.  Finally, demand remains relatively low.  Once spending improves, the Chamber believes that companies will have no choice but to invest in additional personnel to meet that demand.  As consumer and business spending grows, so should jobs.

And, the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies created 1.4 million jobs abroad in 2010, compared with less than 1 million in the United States. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have cut the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, according to Robert Scott, the institute’s senior international economist.

Will Healthcare Be Commercial Real Estate’s Savior?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Will Healthcare Be Commercial Real Estate SaviorWith the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act now the law of the land, commercial real estate executives are waiting to see what impact the legislation will have on their business.   Consensus is that the new healthcare law changes crucial demand drivers for real estate by introducing alternative models to deliver medical services.  The potential to impact commercial real estate lies in the fact that as many as 32 million additional Americans will receive coverage when the law becomes fully implemented in 2014.  They will need a place to receive healthcare.

In a white paper written by Kenneth Meyer and Rob Grossman, Principals with Deloitte Consulting LLP, the authors note that “Using an industry multiplier of 1.9 SF required per patient to estimate the net effect of additional patients on space utilization, it can be estimated that 64 million SF will be required to meet the increased demand.  Since the demand for additional medical space will begin almost immediately, the industry cannot afford a long wait due to development of new medical office buildings, nor can the industry continue to thrive by building more square footage without addressing current square foot absorption.”

To fill growing demand, retail locations are becoming increasingly important to healthcare, especially wellness centers, preventive care clinics and urgent care clinics -a new and emerging trend.  As of February of 2010, there are approximately 1,200 retail clinics in the United States.  “CVS leads the market with 569 retail clinics in 25 states and the District of Columbia,” according to the authors.  “Recent changes in healthcare legislation should help to drive demand and support profitability.  Retail space dedicated to health education could see a boost in the near future.”

Healthcare providers present diversity in a tenant mix and can protect the owner against shifting market conditions.  “A recent study of Fitch-rated Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) in the U.S. further illustrated the strength of the healthcare real estate sector,” according to Meyer and Grossman.  “In 2009, Healthcare REITs were the only property type that did not receive a downgrade by Fitch.  In fact, during that same time period two Healthcare REITs actually received ratings upgrades.”