Category Archives: Obamacare

You didn’t really think Obamacare was going to leave you untouched, did you?

There wasn’t really a question about it, was there?

Whether it’s called Obamacare or nationalized health care, we’ve been warning since October 2008 (as others have also weighed in) that Obamacare would eventually lead to single-payer insurance.

Why?  It’s a matter of simple economics.

If health care costs are expected to rise as predicted, employers will find fines less costly (and far less burdensome) than continuing coverage for their employees.  As Obamacare slowly gets digested, employers are beginning to understand that change comes at a price and so, accordingly, they are planning change as well…slowly…incrementally.

Still not convinced?  How about some more evidence:

Towers Watson, a leading human resources consulting firm, has conducted a survey of 661 human resource and benefit specialists across America. While benefit professionals are still digesting the new law, the survey shows that they are even more skeptical of Obamacare than the public is.


These benefit specialists represent a broad range of industries, and are responsible for choosing health-insurance plans for almost 4 million Americans. If their fears come true, the future of American health care is bleak. Among the highlights:

  • 90 percent believe that Obamacare “will increase their organization’s health care benefit costs”;
  • 88 percent intend to pass the increases onto employees by increasing employee premium contributions or other cost-sharing measures;
  • 74 percent intend to “reduce health benefits and programs” by using stingier health plans, restricting eligibility for health coverage, and using spousal waivers or surcharges.

And what about Grandma?  According to the survey, seniors will feel it the fastest and most dramatically.

More than three in four employers (85%) believe that health care reform will reduce the number of large organizations offering employer-sponsored retiree medical benefits. And 43% of employers that currently offer retiree medical plans plan to reduce or eliminate them.

How’s that for “change you can believe in?”
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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

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Single-Payer Health Care is Coming…

The plan all along has been to have European-style, single-payer health care.

A warning was issued in 2008, in 2009 and now:  Under the new health care reform legislation, America will have a single-payer health care system being initiated within three years and implemented within the next five to ten years.   Here’s why [from one of the largest employee and labor law firms in the nation]:

As new benefits, penalties, and programs become effective, some employers may be driven to reevaluate the cost of providing health care coverage to their employees relative to the penalty for not providing coverage. For some, it may become more cost-effective to pay the penalty than provide the coverage. In addition, employers may turn increasingly to contingent workers to eliminate the cost of providing health insurance or the penalty for not doing so.

Or, if you don’t believe lawyers, then how about the Hill?

The report also suggests that some employers will stop offering their employees healthcare coverage benefits: “A number of workers who currently have employer coverage would likely become enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program or receive subsidized coverage through the [Health] Exchanges. For example, some smaller employers would be inclined to terminate their existing coverage, and companies with low average salaries might find it to their — and their employees’ — advantage to end their plans...”

Foster claims that the law’s penalties on employers who don’t offer their workers health insurance “are relatively low compared to prevailing health insurance costs.” 

Smaller employers? How about larger ones too?

You can also just start listening at :35 in the clip below [via Moe Lane]…

You have been warned.  Now, what will you do about it?
__________________
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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America’s Permanent Hiring Freeze

With Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unemployment release for March, the Obama administration declared that the “worst of the storm is over.”  However, as wishful thinking as that sounds, the reality is that instead of driving us out of the storm, thanks to the newly-passed health care reform legislation, the administration may have just driven America straight into a perma-storm*:

On the one hand, the unemployment rate remained constant at 9.7 percent in March and the share of the workforce taking part-time jobs because they couldn’t find full time unemployment rose by a tenth of the percentage point.

For the second straight month, the broadest measure of unemployment rose, this time to 16.9 percent. This measure includes people who have left the labor force because they can’t find a job as well as part-time workers who couldn’t find a full-time job.

On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of households shows that 264,000 people got jobs. Yet, the number unemployed also rose by 134,000. So how can you have both more people getting jobs and being unemployed? There is a simple reason for it. Over the last year, a lot of workers got discouraged, stopped looking for a job, and were no longer counted as being in the labor force.

To make matters worse*:

ADP, the giant firm that handles payroll services for private companies, estimates that nonfarm private employment fell by 23,000 in March.

Gallup also released a survey showing that the unemployment rate stood at 10.4 percent, an improvement from 10.6 percent in February. But that was more than offset by the 0.7 percent increase in part-time workers wanting full-time work. According to Gallup, the broad measure of unemployment and underemployment isn’t 16.9 percent, but 20.3 percent and rising from 19.8 percent.

As Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich opines*: Bottom line: This is no jobs recovery.

And the worst may be yet to come…

March’s unemployment numbers have not taken into account the effects that have yet to be felt by the private sector due to America’s newly nationalized health care industry.

While it is still too soon to tell what the cost on jobs and the economy will ultimately be, so far it does not look promising.  In fact, a mere few weeks into our nation’s foray into government-controlled health care our unofficial tally places the immediately-known costs of ObamaCare at $3,347,000,000.  But that is not counting any job losses as yet.

You may remember that one of the selling points of ObamaCare was the subsidies that are to be provided to small businesses. However, as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) notes on his website*:

The law’s credit for small businesses will do little to nothing to help small employers afford insurance.  In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that only 12% of the nation’s small businesses would qualify for the credit.
  • Only firms with fewer than 10 employees will receive the full credit (up to 50% of health coverage expenses)
  • For firms with 11-25 employees, the credit is reduced per employee
  • Firms with more than 25 employees get no credit
  • In addition, only firms who pay their workers $25,000 or less are eligible for the full credit.  The credit is reduced as the average wage goes up, stopping at $50,000
  • The credit begins in 2010 for existing coverage expenses, but only lasts until 2016

And then there are those employer mandates:

Here’s how this would work in the real world:

  • If your business: Has more than 50 full-time employees. Does not offer insurance. Has one or more employees receiving premium subsidies in an Exchange. Penalty = $750 per employee.
  • If your business: Has more than 50 full-time employees. Offers insurance. Has one or more employees receiving premium subsidies in an Exchange. Fine = lesser of $3,000 per subsidized employee or $750 per employee.
  • If your business: Has more than 50 full-time employees. Offers insurance. Has no employees receiving premium subsidies in an Exchange. No penalty.
  • If your business: Has 50 or fewer full-time employees. No penalty.

There are extra penalties up to $600 per employee for firms who have a waiting period before employees are eligible for insurance. To add insult to injury, even if an employer is already providing coverage, they will be subject to the penalty if the government “deems” their plan to be “unaffordable.” In addition, the reconciliation bill passed by the House and being debated in the Senate would increase the $750 per employee penalty to $2,000 per employee.

More here.



What does ObamaCare mean in jobs?

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) says the employer mandate alone could cost 1.6 million jobs.

However, according to Congressman McCaul, the overall costs of ObamaCare may be much higher*:

“Five million jobs will be killed as a result of this bill.”

It’s going to hurt small business owners who will have to limit their hiring. This doesn’t create jobs. This is a disincentive for the private sector to hire people.

A case in point:

As the costs of ObamaCare begin to mount and the administration places blame on everyone but themselves, it will be important to continually point out the obvious:

A businessman cannot force you to buy his product; if he makes a mistake, he suffers the consequences; if he fails, he takes the loss. A bureaucrat forces you to obey his decisions, whether you agree with him or not—and the more advanced the stage of a country’s statism, the wider and more discretionary the powers wielded by a bureaucrat. If he makes a mistake, you suffer the consequences; if he fails, he passes the loss on to you, in the form of heavier taxes.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

Cross-posted.

Storm photo: Ragnar1984

* = Emphasis added.

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Prudential’s Rock Slides $100 Million on ObamaCare Costs

Adding to the growing (and updated) list of companies (and their workers) who are paying the price of ObamaCare, we can now throw Prudential Financial onto the heap.

Insurer Prudential Financial Inc. said Monday that it will take a $100 million charge in the first quarter in relation to the recent health care overhaul legislation.

The life insurance and annuities provider said in a regulatory filing that it will take the charge against earnings in the first quarter.

[snip]

Prudential said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the health bill signed into law by President Barack Obama last week and a companion measure he is expected to sign Tuesday will reduce its tax deduction for retiree health care costs beginning in 2013.

Companies that provide prescription drug benefits for retirees have been getting subsidies covering 28 percent of eligible costs but could deduct everything they spent on the benefits — including the federal money — from their taxable income.

Not surprisingly, Henry Waxman’s nostrils flared at the news.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

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The Private-Sector Cost of ObamaCare: One-quarter of a billion dollars and a thousand jobs so far…

It’s been only three two days since President Obama signed his “landmark” (not-quite-done-yet) legislation and the costs are only now starting to emerge over the White House’s ongoing problem–jobs.

The tally so far (and we’re just getting started) is that the health care legislation will cost two companies one-quarter of a billion dollars this year and a third company about 1,000 jobs:

From the Wall Street Journal:

Even before President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday, Caterpillar said it would cost the company at least $100 million more in the first year alone. Medical device maker Medtronic warned that new taxes on its products could force it to lay off a thousand workers. Now Verizon joins the roll of businesses staring at adverse consequences.

In an email titled “President Obama Signs Health Care Legislation” sent to all employees Tuesday night, the telecom giant warned that “we expect that Verizon’s costs will increase in the short term.” While executive vice president for human resources Marc Reed wrote that “it is difficult at this point to gauge the precise impact of this legislation,” and that ObamaCare does reflect some of the company’s policy priorities, the message to workers was clear: Expect changes for the worse to your health benefits as the direct result of this bill, and maybe as soon as this year. [Emphasis added.]

This is just the beginning.  Add John Deere to the list, as well:

Deere & Co has become the second US company to warn of a loss to President Barack Obama’s controversial US healthcare reforms, saying that the legislation will cost it $150m in earnings.
The maker of John Deere tractors said the hit would be taken primarily in the February-to-April quarter, for which analyst had been expected the group to report earnings of about $450m. [Emphasis added.]
The administration is freaking out that this is leaking out in dribs and drabs:
…Gary Locke, the US Commerce Secretary, condemned as “premature and irresponsible” the Caterpillar and Deere statements, saying that some the details of the package were still being ironed out.

“A lot of the regulations on how this will affect big business haven’t even published yet,” Mr Locke told television channel CNBC.
Translation:  We don’t to hear bad news because we still need to sell the already-passed legislation to voters before the mid-term elections.
Since many of the workers at the companies cited above are union workers, it might be helpful for their union bosses who pushed ObamaCare so hard to remind them of President-elect Obama’s election night speech:  “It can’t happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.”
Now, that’s change you can believe in!
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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

Cross-posted.

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BREAKING: IT’S NOT APRIL FOOL’S DAY: U.S. House Must Re-Vote on ObamaCare!!!

Having had to check the date twice to confirm it is not, in fact, April Fools Day, both the Daily Beast and Politico are reporting the same thing, which means it must be true!

The House of Representatives are going to have to re-vote on ObamaCare!

From Politico:

Senate Republicans have suceeded in forcing Democrats to send the health reform reconciliation bill back to the House for another vote, after Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin ruled early Thursday morning that two minor provisions violated the chamber’s rules and couldn’t be included in the final bill.

Democrats believe the provisions — technical changes to language about Pell Grants for low-income students – are so minor that they don’t threaten to derail the reconciliation package, which includes a series of fixes to the reform bill that has already been signed into law by President Barack Obama.

But clearly Democrats are anxious to put the health care voting behind them – given the painful history of the past year of close votes and near-death experiences on the bill – and want nothing to pop up now that could give them headaches.

And the Daily Beast:

Guess it’s not a done deal just yet. The Senate parliamentarian found two violations of reconciliation rules in the health-care package voted on by the House last weekend, forcing the bill to return to the lower chamber for another vote. According to Senate rules, provisions in a reconciliation bill must involve the federal budget. Two features, which the Democrats are calling “minor,” didn’t meet that standard. The Republicans in the Senate had tried to stop the bill by offering dozens of amendments, hoping to force the bill back to the House for another vote that way, but were unsuccessful. The Senate worked until 2:45 a.m. Thursday, with debate growing animated and confused at times. One sticking point seemed to revolve around Pell grants, which the reconciliation bill increases. The Senate should vote on the final package Thursday, and the House is expected to vote again—and for the last time—this weekend.

Apparently, when you rush to take over 1/6th of America’s economy, mistakes are bound to be made.

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“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
Follow LaborUnionReport on Twitter.

For more news and views on today’s unions, go to LaborUnionReport.com.

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