A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Business Impact"

H&R Block: ‘No One Can Understand’ New Obamacare Tax Code

The Daily Caller
Wed, 2015-01-21
Posted By Richard Pollock H&R Block, the nation’s largest retail tax preparation company warns that the newly released Obamacare tax code, officially called the Affordable Care Act, is likely to confuse millions of taxpayers who try to tackle their tax returns for 2014. “Now that the Affordable Care Act has made health care a tax issue, no one can understand it,” H&R Block flatly tells taxpayers in a video that resides on its dedicated Obamacare web site. A former IRS Commissioner agrees, and cautions that the new tax requirements will be a “shock to the system,” especially afflicting low-income earners who have never itemized on their tax return. The tax preparation giant — with 24 million tax clients worldwide — reports that the Obamacare tax rules now constitute “the biggest tax code change in the last 20 years.” The company is so concerned, it has launched a high profile national television advertising campaign directed solely at Obamacare enrollees.

Yes, Some Companies Are Cutting Hours In Response To ‘Obamacare’

Five Thirty Eight Economics
Wed, 2015-01-14
By Ben Casselman On Friday, I posted this chart, showing that nearly all the job growth since the recession ended has been in full-time jobs. Part-time employment is pretty much flat. I wasn’t trying to make a political point, but many readers saw one anyway. Specifically, they saw it as a refutation of a frequent Republican talking point: that the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is killing full-time jobs because it requires employers to offer health insurance to their full-time (but not their part-time) workers. The reality, though, is a bit more complicated. Obamacare hasn’t led to a shift from full-time employment to part-time.

Eligible Americans Turn Down Obamacare Tax Credits

US News
Mon, 2015-01-12
By Kimberly Leonard Grace Brewer says she never thought she would be without health insurance at this stage of her life. "I'm a casualty of Obamacare," says Brewer, 60, a self-employed chiropractor in the Kansas City, Kansas, area. She wanted to keep the catastrophic health insurance plan she once had, which she says fit her needs. But under the Affordable Care Act, the government's health care reform law, the plan was discontinued because it did not comply with the law's requirements, and her bills doubled to more than $400 a month. "I wanted a minimal plan and I’m not allowed to have it," she says. "That seems like an encroachment on my freedom." The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to buy insurance or pay a penalty. Government subsidies can reduce costs for low- and middle-income Americans and without them, many say they could not afford insurance.

OBAMACARE: the real pain starts this year

The American Spectator
Tue, 2015-01-06
Obamacare was designed such that its most harmful provisions would not be implemented until after the President had been returned to office for a second term and his Democrat accomplices had been reelected to their congressional seats. Fortunately for the nation, the latter part of that strategy was a spectacular failure. Nonetheless, it did provide the public with a temporary reprieve from the health care law’s most painful exactions. That brief respite is now at an end. This year, you will begin to experience the realities of “reform” first hand and you are not going to like how it feels. In fact, you are probably already feeling the first twinges without recognizing that their source is Obamacare. If you are among the 150 million Americans who get health insurance through their employers, for example, chances are that the coverage your company offered for 2015 has much higher premiums than did last year’s plan.

Is Obamacare Squeezing The Middle Class?

Forbes
Tue, 2015-01-06
Here is something few pundits predicted. Poor, long-uninsured patients are getting Medicaid through Obamacare and finally going to the doctor’s office for care. But middle-class patients are increasingly staying away. Take Praveen Arla, who helps his father run a family practice in Hillview, Kentucky. The Arlas’ patient load used to be 45% commercially insured and 25% Medicaid. Those percentages are now reversed, report Laura Ungar and Jayne O’Donnell in USA Today. What’s the difference? Medicaid patients generally face no deductible or copayment when they seek care. But people who get health insurance at work or buy it in the (Obamacare) exchanges can face high out-of-pocket costs. Nationwide, the size of the average deductible more than doubled in eight years, from $584 to $1,217 for individual coverage according to the Kaiser Foundation. Deductibles of $1,000 and up are now the workplace norm.

Health Care Fixes Backed by Harvard’s Experts Now Roil Its Faculty

New York Times
Mon, 2015-01-05
WASHINGTON — For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar. Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed. The faculty vote came too late to stop the cost increases from taking effect this month, and the anger on campus remains focused on questions that are agitating many workplaces: How should the burden of health costs be shared by employers and employees?

2015: The ObamaCare Crucible

Commentary Magizine
Mon, 2015-01-05
By Tevi Troy The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, has had a tough run of it since being signed into law nearly five years ago. It has faced constitutional challenges, voters ousting congressional Democrats who supported it, and the disastrous rollout of its federal website in October 2013. This past fall, supporters launched a public-relations campaign dedicated to the proposition that things were finally going well for ObamaCare’s 7 million sign-ups, but their campaign was derailed when the Obama administration admitted that it had added 400,000 dental patients to the roster of health-insurance enrollees to falsely claim it had reached the 7 million number. It is likely that ObamaCare’s low point hasn’t been reached. The year 2015 is shaping up to be the ACA’s worst yet.

Feds Looking for Company to Run 'National Data Warehouse' for Obamacare, Medicare

The Weekly Standard
Fri, 2015-01-02
Jeryl Bier The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is looking for vendors to run its "National Data Warehouse," a database for "capturing, aggregating, and analyzing information" related to beneficiary and customer experiences with Medicare and the federal Obamacare marketplaces. Although the database primarily consists of quality control metrics related to individuals' interactions with customer service, potential contractors are to "[d]emonstrate ...

6 Reasons Why Vermont's Single-Payer Health Plan Was Doomed From The Start

Forbes
Mon, 2014-12-22
Avik Roy: Last week, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D.) announced that he was pulling the plug on his four-year quest to impose single-payer, government-run health care on the residents of his state. “In my judgment,” said Shumlin at a press conference, “the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families, and the state’s economy.” The key reasons for Shumlin’s reversal are important to understand. They explain why the dream of single-payer health care in the U.S. is dead for the foreseeable future—but also why Obamacare will be difficult to repeal. Leading left-wing economists worked on Vermont plan Shumlin’s predecessor in Montpelier was a Republican, Jim Douglas. In 2009, Douglas announced that he would not be seeking a fifth two-year term; five Democrats joined the contest to replace him. Progressive activists demanded that each candidate promise to enact single-payer health care if nominated; all five complied.

ObamaCare Fuels Historic Part-Time Work Surge

Investors' Business Daily
Tue, 2014-12-16
Over the past year, the ranks of people working part-time jobs by choice — as opposed to business-driven factors — has grown by more than one million, the fastest pace in at least two decades. The timing with ObamaCare's first year of subsidies to buy health insurance is likely more than coincidental. While analysts on the left and right have sparred over whether businesses have shifted to part-time jobs to limit liability under ObamaCare, no one disputes that the law will lead more people to choose to work part-time. Any disagreement is over whether the law should get credit for making less work possible or blame for making work less financially rewarding. The number of people working part-time for noneconomic reasons in November was up 1.15 million, or 6.1%, from a year earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

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