What do you get when the legislators of your country sign over 900 pages of health care legislation into law without fully understanding the requirements of the aforementioned law? You get a big hole in pockets of Americans, further reducing our already declining incomes.
The state of the American health care system was forever changed on March 23, 2010 when President Barack Obama signed the Obamacare health legislation into law.
While I was a member of the disapproving party, this legislation has proven to cause more harm than good, and recently, more people seem to be jumping on the Obamacare hate-train.
In unusual clarity, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy put it well when he said that Obamacare changes the relationship of the individual to the government. Never before has the American government required its citizens to make a purchase based solely on his or her citizenship.
The effects of this legislation are widespread and millions of Americans are only beginning to feel the financial strain that Obamacare will cause. When pushing for this legislation to be passed, President Obama claimed that his Affordable Healthcare Act would lower the cost of an average family’s insurance premiums by $2500. In reality, the cost of insurance hasn’t decreased, but has risen about $3000 during Obama’s first term.
Households with an income greater than $250,000 are seeing an almost one percent increase in their Medicare tax in addition to an almost four percent increase in the tax on personal investment income.
Insurance companies will also begin taking a big hit as a result of impending taxation, set to be implemented in 2014. According to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, over the next 10 years, health-insurance providers will pay a total of $100 billion as a result of taxation that accompanies the Affordable Healthcare Act.
The Affordable Healthcare Act is also indirectly affecting the out-of-pocket cost for individuals and businesses that wish to purchase insurance. United Heath Group, Inc., Aetna, and BlueCross BlueShield have come out stating that while some increase in future insurance cost is due to the increase in the cost of health care, the lofty requirements in the Affordable Healthcare Act will contribute to increases that insurance customers will begin to see in coming years. United Health Group Inc., recently said that premiums could increase up to 116% for individual insures and up to 50% for small-businesses that are providing health insurance for employees because of this legislation.
If the significant out-of-pocket costs and tax increases weren’t enough, the requirements of Affordable Healthcare Act have recently been making waves again, this time in the form of the Obama Administration’s inability to set up “exchanges” that are required by this legislation.
Exchanges are essentially insurance markets that small business owners can utilize to offer greater insurance options to their employees. While the set up of exchanges seemed like an incentive for small-business owners when the Affordable Healthcare Act was passed, they are beginning to look like one big flop, with the recent announcement that the implementation of these exchanges, originally set to be introduced in 2014, will be delayed for at least a year.
Obama is quickly losing the support of small business employers who were originally in favor of this legislation—even only if that support came from the guarantee of exchanges being established. The Affordable Healthcare Act also requires that employers to provide insurance to all full time employees, with the implementation of fines for companies that fail to meet this requirement.
With the lack of exchanges, and the rising cost to insure a businesses entire work force, it is becoming more and more evident that employers may stop providing insurance and accept fines or reduce the hours that employees work forcing them to be part-time workers. Fines are less costly than the price of providing mandated insurance for employees. These mandates not only punish businesses, but also hard working employees. The unintended consequence is that more Americans will be without employer sponsored health insurance—defeating the stated purpose of the legislation.
One this is clear—while Republican and Democrat lawmakers have done some heavy thinking, they need to start taking action before this legislation causes even more damage to our incredibly fragile economy.
Mary Claire Couch | Belmont | @MaryClaireCouch