ObamaCare’s impact on health costs.
The latest KFF/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey figures have arrived with yet more bad news about Obamacare. Obamacare’s fiercest advocates have been quick to trumpet a purported slowdown in health spending and way too quick to assign Obamacare the credit for this. They’ve failed to acknowledge two inconvenient truths. The slowdown began many years before Obamacare was ever enacted into law. More importantly, and what I’ll highlight in this post, they’ve failed to point out the entire economy has slowed down thanks to Obamanomics, including worker wages, whose growth has been anemic. It is only when we compare slow health spending to even slower growth in wages that the real truth about Obamacare is revealed: Obamacare has not slowed down premium growth relative to wages at all!
On Tuesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual survey of employer-sponsored health plans. The number that will probably attract the most attention relates to the premiums attached to employer plans — an important figure, since rising premiums eat up money that could otherwise go toward pay increases. The survey shows that 2015 premiums for family coverage were 4.2 percent higher than in 2014, a rise slightly greater than those of the past couple years.
Some Republicans are eyeing repeal of Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax” as part of a larger plan to roll back some of the law’s most unpopular and unworkable provisions. It is certainly a good idea to move legislation this year that begins to push back against Obamacare’s many excesses. But the Cadillac tax is the last provision Republicans should be targeting for repeal right now, and they certainly shouldn’t repeal it without replacing it with something more sensible.
Members of Congress from both parties, as well as some employers, insurers and state insurance commissioners, are calling for changes in the Affordable Care Act to prevent premium increases that are expected to affect workers at many small and midsize companies next year.
Lawmakers see the potential for a rare bipartisan agreement on the issue, after five years in which Republicans have repeatedly tried to repeal the law and Democrats have blocked their efforts.
More than 2 million public exchange enrollees eligible for cost-sharing reductions are not receiving the subsides because they selected a non-qualifying plan, a recent analysis from consultancy Avalere has found. The oversight could have been avoided with better decision-making tools and the help of trusted advisers, benefit experts agree.
According to the report published in August 2015 by Deloitte, only 30% of consumers who enrolled in health insurance through a government-run exchange were satisfied with their plan.1 By contrast, a separate survey of eHealth shoppers published in February 2015 found that 69% of health insurance shoppers who purchased through eHealth were satisfied with the value of their plan.
Massachusetts residents purchasing unsubsidized health insurance plans through the Massachusetts Health Connector should expect to see their premium costs rise, and some will see their co-pays and deductibles go up as well.
Our country’s small and mid-sized businesses owners and their employees make our economy run. We are both former small business owners, and we understand both the long hours and financial pressures facing entrepreneurs looking to get their business off the ground, as well as their commitment to providing a positive working environment for their employees. The Americans powering our small businesses are our family, our friends and our neighbors, and they deserve common-sense solutions to the challenges they face.
Section 9001 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), set to take effect in 2018, imposes what it calls an “Excise Tax on High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage”, which has come to be known as the “Cadillac Tax.” This is a 40 percent tax on employer-sponsored health benefits that are defined as “excess benefits.” That means anything in excess of $10,200 (employee only) or $27,500 (family) coverage for 2018, with adjustments for subsequent years. The “excess benefit” includes not only benefits provided by the employer, but also the portion of premium paid by the employee, as well as any money the employee chooses to set aside out of salary to pay for health expenses via a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
Obama-era boondoggles operate on a far grander scale. Consider the massive 2009 “Stimulus” package and all those “shovel-ready” jobs that never materialized. Or the $536-million loan guarantee for Solyndra, shortly before the solar power company went belly up.