“It is three years before most of the new health-care law kicks in, but already some of America’s largest employers are peppering the Internal Revenue Service with concerns that making the changes will be far more complex than they anticipated. At issue is one of the law’s central requirements: employers with 50 or more full-time workers must offer affordable insurance or pay a penalty. It sounds simple enough. But in crafting the rules, the IRS and two other federal agencies are now tackling basic yet messy questions, such as who counts as a full-time worker and how do companies measure whether insurance is ‘affordable.'”
“The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health recently held a hearing to review how Obamacare regulations will affect employers’ ability to maintain health coverage.
To illustrate the magnitude of the new regulatory burdens on businesses, subcommittee chairman Joe Pitts (R–PA) displayed a stack of over 3,500 pages of Obamacare rules, notices, and regulatory guidance issued so far by the Administration. This additional burden, the hearing highlighted, will harm employers’ ability to offer health coverage and disrupt coverage for Americans across the country.”
“[D]ue to a glitch in Obamacare, married couples of early retirees making around $64,000 a year will become eligible for Medicaid. That’s more than four times the federal poverty level of $14,710… If we do a back-of-the-envelope calculation, in which the average annual Medicaid expenditure per early retiree is $15,000 per year, the ten-year cost of this glitch could be as high as $450 billion. Even if only half of those eligible opt to take advantage of the loophole, we’re talking at least $250-300 billion, as the sickest patients are the ones most likely to enroll.”
“ObamaCare’s defenders have worked themselves into a tizzy, attacking the recent study published by McKinsey & Co., the world’s leading management consulting firm. The study indicated that 30 percent of surveyed employers were ‘definitely or probably’ planning on discontinuing employer-sponsored health insurance after 2014… Well, lo and behold, McKinsey decided to release the details: the full questionnaire used in their survey, along with a 206-page report detailing the survey’s complete results.”
“McKinsey met the criticism with the facts. It released the survey questions, methodology, and data, putting to rest questions about the objectivity. The survey was paid for by McKinsey and not any of its clients; it was administered by an internationally-recognized survey firm; the survey’s descriptions were largely fact-based and generic in nature; and it surveyed a large, representative sample of the nation’s employers.”
“The furor says less about McKinsey than about the politically damaging reality of the new law. As the McKinsey survey shows in detail, many businesses may be better off if they drop coverage and pay workers slightly more to compensate for fewer benefits, along with paying the new penalty for not providing insurance. Many workers earning up to $102,000 may also be better off because the ObamaCare subsidies are so much larger than the current tax break for employer coverage.”
“New regulations that require chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus are an unfair burden on small businesses, Republican lawmakers say. Industry groups are asking the Food and Drug Administration to extend the deadline for public comments on the regulation, which implements menu labeling requirements included in healthcare reform. The healthcare law requires restaurants with more than 20 locations to post calorie counts on their menus or menu boards.”
“Specifically, the government’s position rests on two false economic claims. First, that an individual’s decision not to buy health insurance substantially affects interstate commerce by increasing the costs of health insurance for all Americans.
Second, that the health care industry is ‘unique’ because of its high rates of participation, high costs, federal mandates and the purported uncertainty surrounding when care will be required.”
“Our research suggests that when employers become more aware of the new economic and social incentives embedded in the law and of the option to restructure benefits beyond dropping or keeping them, many will make dramatic changes. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that only about 7 percent of employees currently covered by employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) will have to switch to subsidized-exchange policies in 2014. However, our early-2011 survey of more than 1,300 employers across industries, geographies, and employer sizes, as well as other proprietary research, found that reform will provoke a much greater response.”
“The cost and quality of healthcare will get worse because of healthcare reform rules that let the federal government review rates and set limits on how insurance companies spend their money, small businesses and insurance agents said Thursday.”