Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told Americans that they should celebrate Obamacare and "health independence" on Independence Day. But the only ones celebrating this week are businesses that will not be penalized until 2015 for not providing their workers with health insurance. The rest of us will not be so fortunate.
The Obama administration announced this week that it would delay the employer reporting requirements and employer mandate tax until after the 2014 election. The decision was a major setback for the administration, but a seemingly sly political move for their fellow Democrats, who were likely to suffer the backlash of Obamacare's implementation of penalties and increased taxes.
The Affordable Care Act is causing much anxiety, heartache and difficulties for small businesses – many which were not ready for the open-enrollment season this year. The administration's announcement was shocking, yet very telling of how it continues to face difficulties in implementing the unpopular law.
So what happens after the expansive 1,900 page health care bill becomes law? The reality of costs and bureaucracy sets in, and the administration is stuck with an unworkable and expansive program. So far, some of the setbacks have included its announcement last year that the White House would eliminate the long-term care insurance program called the Community Living Assistance Services Act because the costs were unsustainable.
The October open enrollment for the health exchanges will further test the administration's readiness and ability to notify those individuals who will be penalized by the beginning of next year if they are not signed up for health insurance. While the administration has already started its public relations campaign to educate the American people on Obamacare, a recent Gallup poll showed that 42 percent of Americans believe that the Obamacare will "make their family healthcare situation worse." And an increasing number of Americans (52 percent) disapprove of the law and believe it will "make the healthcare situation worse in America."
The growing uncertainty and negativity surrounding the law is also having an impact on business owners. In a recent Gallup poll, 48 percent of those employers surveyed stated that "Obamacare would be bad for their businesses." Many companies are cutting existing workers, not hiring and not expanding their businesses to deliberately stay below the 50 full-time employee threshold.
While the Obama administration may celebrate June's employment report, where unemployment remained at 7.6 percent, it should be equally concerned that part-time jobs have significantly increased by a record high of 360,000, while full-time jobs were down by 240,000. Obamacare is hurting full-time employment, as businesses are opting for part-time workers to avoid the cost of providing health insurance coverage. We are becoming a nation of part-time workers who are stuck working less hours and earning less wages and unable to find a full-time job.
Obamacare continues to threaten our nation's soft economic recovery and disrupt plans for many businesses that may want to expand but are forced to spend a portion of their time submitting additional reports to the government and deciding the future of their health care coverage for workers. Employers will now need to determine if they will pay for their workers' health care coverage or dump them into the exchange.
While the administration is giving businesses a break for one year, many Americans who don't have insurance will face a penalty, and others will risk losing their existing insurance. Additionally, more health insurance companies can't afford to stay in a particular state, and businesses and individuals can't afford to keep their existing health insurance.
Back in 2007, then-candidate Obama stated that "if you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under his plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less." His statement illustrates how his utopic vision faces a harsh reality. Instead, many Americans are experiencing a steep rise in their health insurance premiums. In Ohio, insurance regulators recently stated that the cost of health insurance premiums is expected to rise to "nearly 90 percent for policies available under President Obama's healthcare law." In other states like California, both United Healthcare and Aetna left the state, which results in less competition and health insurance options for individuals.
During this holiday week, businesses will surely be celebrating. They will be celebrating one more year of independence from a government's overbearing regulations, additional taxes and requirements on employers who believe that Obamacare is having a detrimental effect on their business' growth and employment prospects.