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ObamaCare sticker shock hits small business

ObamaCare sticker shock hits small business

My, but ObamaCare has a lot of other shoes to drop.  Here comes another one, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tell 11 million small businesses to get ready for insurance premium hikes.  From Fox News:

The report, released Friday, says the higher rates are partly due to the health law’s requirement that premiums can no longer be based on a person’s age. That has sent premiums higher for younger workers, and lower for older ones.

The report found that 65 percent of small businesses would see a spike in insurance premiums and about 35 percent of small businesses would see lower rates for plans covering six million people, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The estimate is far from certain, partly because many small businesses renewed their policies in 2013. Renewing before the end of the year allowed them to avoid higher premiums that went into effect Jan. 1, when coverage was required to conform to the law.

Also limiting the certainty of the estimate is the fact that the report looks at three specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Employers’ decisions will be based on more factors, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In other words, it’s likely to get even worse next year.  That ought to do wonders for a struggling job market that takes another sucker punch to the breadbasket every time Barack Obama announces a policy initiative.  Didn’t the President make a fetish, during his re-election campaign, of declaring small businesses the very engine of American job creation?

But look on the bright side: instead of cutting jobs and hours, your small-biz employer might just fling you into the howling abyss of Healthcare.gov and let you become a ward of the State.  In other words: ObamaCare is doing exactly what it was secretly intended to do.  What could be better for the statist Left than a huge new population of people paying sky-high insurance premiums that would crush them… if not for subsidies ladled out by the loving but stern hands of the Ruling Class?

Still, Republicans were quick to pounce on the report, which was requested by House Speaker John Boehner and was due before the end of 2011. 

“This is another punch in the gut for Americans already struggling in the president’s economy,” Boehner said in a statement. “It’s clear why the administration sought to delay and deemphasize the release of this report. It undermines the central promise of the president’s health care law: affordable coverage.”

“These 11 million people who will see their premiums spike are 11 million more reasons to repeal this law and start over with common sense reform that will make care more affordable, not more costly.”

House Small Business Committee Chairman Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., said the report is the latest piece of bad news for the law, which hit a snag earlier this month after the Obama administration announced another delay in requiring businesses to provide health coverage.

“The fact that two-thirds of Americans who work at small businesses will see premium increases because of the health law is devastating news. This is one more in a long line of broken promises from President Obama and Washington Democrats,” Graves said in a statement.

Is that a typo, or was this report supposed to be prepared years ago?  I see some other sources confirming the report was indeed meant to land before the election.  Funny how that worked out.

Granted that a lot of variables remain in play, but since everything else about ObamaCare has proven considerably more expensive than originally projected, I can’t help feeling a bit pessimistic about the new burden on small business.  The Administration’s response was to offer the usual phony talking point about health care costs “slowing” in recent years, something due entirely to Obama’s lousy economy, not any virtue of the Affordable Care Act.  We might enjoy a few more years of malaise under Obama’s stewardship, but if a sharp Republican follows him and brings the economy roaring back, the ACA is going to detonate like a bomb.  We might say the most potent insurance purchased under ObamaCare is statist insurance against a revitalized private sector.  One way or the other, you’ll never be as big as you used to be, entrepreneurial America.

Investor’s Business Daily explains one of the big factors driving these small-business premium hikes:

What [the CMS report] found was that 65% of small businesses that offer insurance will likely see their premiums rise thanks to ObamaCare. That translates into higher insurance costs for 11 million workers.

The reason? These companies generally employ younger, healthier workers and so had been paying lower-than-average rates.

But since ObamaCare bans insurance companies from considering health when setting premiums, these companies will get hit with higher costs.

“We are estimating that 65% of small firms are expected to experience increases in their premium rates,” the report said, “while the remaining 35% are anticipated to have rate reductions.”

Thank heavens these ham-fisted statists came along to “fix” the madness of offering lower insurance premiums to young and healthy people!  In what world did that ever make sense?  Oh, right: this one.  Obamanomics is all about making people suffer until they trade common sense for ideology.  The exchange rate is awful.

IBD cites some other studies predicting small-company rate hikes between 12 and 20 percent, depending on the state.  Perhaps one good way to avoid this tsunami of red ink would be to avoid hiring young people… something businesses large and small have grown very good at during the Obama years.

Is small-business sticker another Big Lie of ObamaCare, right up there with “you can keep your plan” and “you can keep your doctor?”  You betcha!  IBD reminds us what Democrats were saying Back Then, i.e. the day before yesterday:

They said ObamaCare would create new, fiercely competitive markets that would result in lower prices and fewer rate shocks.

In 2009, Obama promised small businesses that his plan would “make the coverage that you’re currently providing more affordable.” Later he said it would drive small-business premiums down by 4% in its first year, and as much as 25% by 2016.

As recently as last summer, Pelosi was proclaiming that “if you’re a small business … it lowers costs,” while Waxman said the law would make “high-quality healthy insurance more affordable and more widely available for small businesses.”

Notice that nowhere — either before or after ObamaCare passed — did any Democrat say anything about two-thirds of small businesses paying more for health coverage so the lucky one-third could get rate cuts.

Yeah, well, they didn’t say “we’ll kill your old insurance plan but you’ll thank us for it, because it was a bad apple” either, but here we are.  Every one of Obama’s Big Lies would have been a deal-breaker, if the American people had known the truth.  There isn’t a chance in hell the Affordable Care Act would have passed, if its creators had been honest about anything.

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