The White House exempted Congress from Obamacare?
Richard L. Jackson is chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare of Atlanta, the nation’s third largest healthcare staffing company. He is a member of the Job Creators Alliance.
State by state, every American is discovering how ObamaCare impacts them personally. Most are facing much higher health care premiums. They are also witnessing classic Washington hypocrisy, as a new White House order assures every taxpayer in the country will pay for most of Congress’ health care plan.
The government’s own watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, recently compared current health insurance plans in the 50 states with projected costs of plans to be offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It found this alarming fact: in many states, even the cheapest plan under the new program will be far more expensive than the least expensive plans available right now.
A July 2013 Maryland Health Benefit Exchange study found federal health care premiums spike by 122 percent in eight states. And that’s for the cheapest programs or “bronze” plans, as labeled by the ACA.
In Virginia, for example, this “bronze” plan premium will cost a 25-year-old $1,608 annually. That’s 252 percent higher than what 25-year-olds pay in the state today.
The same person would pay $1,956 annually in Ohio for a “bronze” plan — about three times as much as the equivalent plan offered in the Buckeye state right now.
These higher costs are for increased health insurance coverage that many people don’t even want. What’s worse: the very same policy makers who forced the ACA upon us are let off the hook for the same increases.
When the ACA required members of Congress and their staffers to buy into the ACA’s health insurance exchanges, there was panic in Washington that they’d actually have to pay for it. But the Obama Administration calmed these fears by deciding taxpayers can keep subsidizing health insurance premiums for members of Congress and their aides.
The reason for the panic is clear: The lavish taxpayer-funded subsidy pays for three-quarters of these health insurance premiums. Without it, many on Capitol Hill would have to foot the bill for their own health care premiums. Like the rest of us.
This hypocrisy reaches even further. While members of Congress and their staffers will keep their employer-offered health insurance as promised, there’s a whole new workforce sprouting up that won’t even get the chance to get health insurance at work, much less keep it.
The government’s own unemployment numbers tell us so.
There were 953,000 jobs created in the United States so far this year, but 77 percent of these jobs were part-time. In July alone, there were almost twice as many new part time jobs than new full time positions.
ObamaCare is a primary reason our nation is stumbling toward a part-time worker society. When employers have 50 or more full-time employees and don’t offer them health care, these business owners are slapped with thousands of dollars in fines.
Incredibly, the Small Business Administration recently revealed that the new health care law will actually count 30 total hours worked by more than one person as one “full time equivalent.” That is a deathblow to small business. I serve on the board of a 75 year-old non-profit organization with 4,000 employees that will be forced to close under this mandate.
The ACA punishes job creators who want to keep — and grow — a robust, full-time staff. The monthly unemployment numbers tell us businesses are cutting current workers’ hours or jobs in favor of part-time positions just so they can stay in business. This will get worse as ObamaCare unfurls in the months ahead.
There have been dozens of well-intentioned piecemeal efforts to amend the new health care law. Concerned federal legislators have tried to restore the definition of “full-time” to a 40-hour work-week. They attempted to get rid of the medical device tax and, most recently, tried to prevent the IRS from administering the law and collecting taxes to pay for it. Nothing worked.
But months of anemic unemployment data tell us the time for token political maneuvers is over. This country is being forced to dramatically change what it means to be an employer and employee because of a poorly conceived and hastily passed law. The ACA must be replaced with real reform that empowers patients and does not harm workers and job creators.