You sometimes hear people say, “I can do what I want, I’m not hurting anybody,” or “It’s my life, I can do what I want.” But how can we know the full ramifications of any of our decisions, if we are taking only our own needs and wants into consideration?
I attended a presentation at my job recently on the Affordable Coverage Act (Obamacare) to learn what was required from employers and employees under the new law.
Although those who passed this law say they were trying to help more people have access to affordable healthcare, many of the unintended negative results will be felt for years to come.
At the training I learned about all the new IRS reporting regulations which require rethinking our payroll processes and redesigning the financial software we use, as well as the onerous employer and employee penalties provided by the various mandates which will require budget, benefits, compensation and collective bargaining changes.
These new requirements will almost certainly result in reduced levels of employee health insurance coverage by employers, many of whom will drop spousal coverage or stop providing any health insurance. Those who are unable to change or drop coverage due to union contracts, etc., will probably hire fewer employees.
There are similar side-effects for anyone touched by the new law, especially health insurance and medical care providers.
None of these unhappy results leads to better or more accessible health care.
Choices, whether made by individuals or governmental leaders, have ripples. Even the best of intentions can’t protect us from the unintended negative consequences of our decisions.
However, there are steps we can take to make them as infrequent as possible.
- The first step is to look beyond your personal agenda to see who or what else may be affected by your actions.
- The next step is to look beyond those who first come to mind, to see who might be impacted by the impact on the first group.
Keep looking until you reach the outermost ring of the ripple, out beyond those famous six degrees of separation. Only then, when you are fully cognizant of the possible consequences of your actions are you ready to say the step is worth taking.
A good New Year’s Resolution might be to look to the ripples before making any major changes or decisions in 2015.
Wishing you and yours a Blessed New Year, bathed in prayer and free of unintended consequences.