Obamacare | The Government's Takeover of Health Care
Employers Get Hammered with Latest Obamacare Change
Created on Thursday, 12 June 2014 08:18
Written by Justin Credible
Nothing about Obamacare is friendly to businesses. And the Obama regime continues to make illegal changes to the law as they see fit, imforming the public after the fact. A recent change in Obamacare, made quietly before the long Memorial Day weekend, hits employers extra hard. They can no longer send employees to federal or state health care exchanges, which gave them a way of offsetting some of the massive costs of Obamacare. Translation: forget new hires or salary raises for millions of small businesses.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Just a few months ago, if a company couldn’t afford rising health insurance premiums for employee coverage, a business had the option of ending coverage altogether and shifting its workers to an exchange — public or private — by giving workers a tax-free, lump-sum payment toward the cost of coverage. If workers were sent to a state or federal exchange, some would have qualified for federal subsidies, reducing their out-of-pocket expenses further. Walgreens, Sears, Darden Restaurants and other companies exercised this option. Employees maintained coverage, and the companies gained some cost certainty.
But yet another rogue ruling by the Obama administration has changed all that.
The latest revision to Obamacare, quietly announced before Memorial Day weekend, requires large employers to offer health coverage to full-time employees and blocks employers from sending workers to an exchange. If an employer fails to abide by the new rules, it will be fined $100 per day— or $36,500 per year — for each employee. The Internal Revenue Service will enforce this new tax, on top of the law’s other penalties.
The Affordable Care Act is supposed to be the law of the land. And Congress is supposed to make the laws. But the president has such little regard for the legislative branch of government that he continues to change the law as he sees fit — and as political considerations warrant. Even members of his own party are questioning how he can get away with this.
Back in February, Democrats loved the idea of Americans being liberated from employer-based coverage and “job lock.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed Obamacare would give Americans the freedom to quit their jobs in order to follow their passion to “write poetry” or do whatever else they had dreamed of doing. If their employer dumped coverage and shifted them to the exchange — or if they lost their job — it was hakuna matata time. Employers and employees suddenly had options. And plans on the exchanges were supposed to be superior, anyway.
So much for that plan. It’ll be quite interesting to see how Rep. Pelosi and Co. reconcile their vision with the president’s latest revision. He has moved the goalposts again, leaving employers even less certain about how Obamacare will affect their bottom line going forward.
Companies now have one more reason to not hire or provide pay raises. Many companies correctly deduced that it would be cheaper to provide employees with lump-sum payments for use on the exchanges and stop providing coverage directly. For some companies, the option was a fail-safe to prevent layoffs or avoid going out of business as a result of rising premiums. And, yes, employer premiums will continue to rise. Companies are bracing for premium spikes when plans renew in the second half of this year — right around election time.
Justin Credible is a contributing editor for Habledash.