“Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says the 2010 federal health care overhaul is slowing Mississippi’s economy because business owners are confused about how much it will cost them to meet demands of the law.”

“Recently, Sears and Darden Restaurants (the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden) revealed plans to change how they provide benefits to their workers. Instead of selecting a plan for the workers, the two companies will give them cash directly to purchase insurance from an online marketplace. Creating private insurance exchanges is a simple but potentially game-changing approach to health insurance coverage.”

“Since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the American Action Forum (AAF) has tracked the state of its regulatory implementation. To date, the ACA has imposed a total of $27.6 billion in new regulations – at least $20.4 billion in lifetime costs on private entities and $7.2 billion in increased burdens on state budgets. In this paper AAF examines how this $27.6 billion in new costs break down on a state-by-state level. The data show that five states will endure at least $1 billion in ACA regulatory costs.”

“The District’s small businesses may have to buy their employee health insurance through a city-run exchange come 2014, following a controversial vote by a city board. The D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, charged with implementing the federal health-care overhaul law, voted Wednesday to accept a recommendation that all health-insurance plans sold in the city for 50 members or fewer must be purchased through the exchange.”

“A D.C. board has voted to require individuals and small-business owners in the District to purchase their health insurance through the newly minted health exchange it oversees. The D.C. Health Benefit Exchange board approved the regulations late Wednesday, with just one modification to shrink the size of businesses that would come under the regulation.”

“The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) on fully-insured premium markets imposed by Obamacare could raise $87 billion over the next ten years and also cost between 125,000 and 249,000 jobs by 2021, according to a study.”

“Even as the new health care law adds millions of insured customers to the paying pool, medical device manufacturers say a tax on their product could cost them billions… But the manufacturers say the tax will force money away from research, send jobs overseas and stop them from expanding in the U.S.”

“Mr. Summers was more comfortable discussing the health care law’s implications for the broader economy than the direct effect on his own business. We talked at length about why he fears his customers could retrench in the wake of the law’s execution — and how his suppliers might pass on their increased costs to him, raising his costs as his revenue is squeezed.”

“In the latest indication of how complicated putting the Affordable Care Act into action will be, the Department of Health and Human Services and Internal Revenue Service issued 18-pages of regulations just to describe what a ‘full-time employee’ is. Of note, to the Feds a full-time employee works an average of just 30 hours a week, not the normally accepted 40 hours.”

“So, benefits and HR professionals are going to be responsible for providing information on a new state-run program that won’t be part of anything they do in their everyday job? The simple answer is yes. So, on March 1, 2013 when you hand an employee the state health insurance exchange guide, get ready for the following questions from employees…”