“The unaffordable Affordable Care Act” and going over the fiscal cliff • Fred Johnson
Nancy Pelosi said, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." But the bill was passed three years ago and we are still finding out what’s in it. The healthcare bill is widely called Obamacare. The reason for that is probably the fact that the real name, The “Affordable” Care Act is becoming a joke as healthcare costs are sky rocketing.
Blue Cross of California is requesting a 20 percent increase in premiums. Aetna’s CEO says, “Health insurance premiums may as much as double for some small businesses and individual buyers in the U.S. when the Affordable Care Act’s major provisions start in 2014.”
Bryon York in the Washington Examiner writes, “For millions of people, Obamacare will mean, alone or in some combination: higher insurance bills, unwanted changes in status at work, higher taxes, loss of employer-based health insurance and a bewildering bureaucracy that will make today's already complex insurance maze seem downright simple.”
The healthcare bill imposes new taxes on businesses. One tax is a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices. Democrat Senator Al Franken, whose home state is headquarters of device-maker Medtronic, called it a "job-killing tax." The tax also impacts Baxter International. In 2013 new taxes hit everyone when a 3.8 percent tax is applied to gross income from interest, dividends, annuities, rent and the taxable gain from the sale of your personal residence.
Businesses are making changes to protect themselves from the “Affordable” Care Act. Under the new healthcare law, companies don't have to insure, or pay fines for not insuring, employees who work less than 30 hours a week. So it's no surprise that many companies are going to make sure their part-time workers, and some current full-time workers, stay below the 30-hour limit. That will mean less work and less pay for those employees. Others are firing or laying off employees to get under the 50-employee limit.
There are some who say to forget the fiscal cliff, the Affordable Care Act is our real cliff. And the healthcare act is entirely a Democrat monstrosity. The House passed the bill with only one Republican voting for it and the Senate passed the bill with every Democrat voting yes and every Republican voting no. The one Republican who voted for the bill lost his seat in the next election. One could surmise that it serves the Democrats right to be in office the next four years while their healthcare law wreaks havoc on our economy and healthcare system.
Speaking of the fiscal cliff, it appears that the best outcome for our country would be to go over the fiscal cliff because it would impose real budget cuts on government spending instead of kicking the can down the road.
Printed in the December 20, 2012 edition