Obamacare Delay

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AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560
Obamacare Delay

Small Businesses Get One-Year Reprieve From Obamacare ‘Employer Mandate’ - ABC News

The Obama administration has once again delayed a major provision of the president?s signature health care law.
Small businesses will get a one-year break from Obamacare?s controversial ?employer mandate,? the requirement that businesses must provide health care coverage if they employ more than 50 workers at more than 30 hours per week, the U.S. Treasury announced today.
?We think the phase-in approach really is a way to administer the law better and enhance overall compliance with the law,? an administration official told reporters on a conference call.
That requirement has drawn criticism from Republicans, who?ve called the health law an incentive for businesses to lay off workers or cut hours as a means to avoid providing health insurance.
In July, the Obama administration announced it would delay the rule?s implementation by one year, to Jan. 1, 2015, and today the Treasury announced new regulations postponing the employer mandate yet again.
Small businesses will get a year-long reprieve. The mandate will apply only to companies with 100 or more employees for the first year, Treasury officials said, rolling out new, final regulations for Obamacare?s implementation. Not until Jan. 1, 2016, will businesses with between 50 and 99 employees be required to provide health care coverage.
Large businesses will get a break, too. For that first year, in 2015, they?ll only have to offer coverage to 70 percent of their full-time (over 30 hours per week) workers. Starting in 2016, they?ll be required to offer coverage to 95 percent of employees or face a penalty.
Companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the employer mandate.
The price of not offering coverage is $2,000 multiplied by a business?s number of full-time employees minus 30, a senior administration official explained.
The Obama administration doesn?t appear to have any stringent means of ensuring that employers don?t purposefully lay off workers or cut hours to avoid the employer mandate, but an administration official told reporters that employers will be required to check a box on tax forms verifying they have not done so.
Critics of the Affordable Care Act have protested another burden on businesses ? paperwork ? and a senior administration official told ABC News that the Treasury Department will soon release more regulations to ease the load of reporting requirements.

Debate - Should Pres. Obama be allowed to change Obamacare without involving congress? Is the delay a good or bad idea? Are you still in support of Obamacare/ ACA if you were in the first place? If not, what do you think should happen now?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Obama continues to just make up the rules as he goes along. I don't see how it can be legal to bypass Congress on all this stuff. If they are giving employers more breaks, why are they still forcing individuals to pay fines? It doesn't seem fair to me at all.

But the optics are still going to cause big headaches. Now that businesses are getting another break, the Obama administration will have to brace for the return of a huge political problem: the demands for regular people to get a break from their own fines if they don’t buy health coverage this year.
It will be a major test of the new White House congressional operation — especially with the addition of Phil Schiliro, whom President Barack Obama brought back into the fold to coordinate Obamacare legislative strategy, including holding the line on repeal efforts.
Most Americans still have to get health coverage this year or pay a fine, a source of political headaches as people struggled to sign up for coverage during the early website glitches. The federal enrollment website is working better now, but many Americans will still have to decide whether it’s better for them to sign up for coverage or pay the fine.
Republicans have pushed the “fairness” line since the first delay: If businesses can get a break, why can’t individuals? They even forced a vote on the issue in the House last year, and the argument was so potent that 22 House Democrats voted to postpone the law’s individual mandate for a year.
Sure enough, the calls started again Monday, as soon as Republicans could hit “send” on their “delay Obamacare” emails.
“It’s time we give every American the same relief from the law that the President has granted to businesses by working toward a legislative solution to delay Obamacare for everyone,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

“Where is the relief for American families who are suffering from this law?” asked Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.). “By providing more relief for employers without doing the same for individuals, the President is again sending the message that businesses deserve favorable treatment over the hardworking American people.”
The only thing the Republicans rush of statements didn’t quite agree on was whether to delay the mandate, delay the whole law, or just go full repeal, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did.
“The White House seems to have a new exemption from its failed law for a different group every month. It’s time to extend that exemption to families and individuals—not just businesses,” said McConnell.

Read more: Obamacare delay sparks new mandate fight - Brett Norman and David Nather - POLITICO.com

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Mr. Obama is not changing anything. He's delaying one aspect of the program, and I believe that's within his rights as POTUS. There's absolutely no need to consult Congress on this (especially since many of them were whining about this already!) and there's absolutely no need to delay any other parts. And there's no need to be "fair" in these various deadlines or fines or anything else when comparing individuals to businesses or when comparing small businesses to large ones. As long as each group is treated equally and fairly, that's all that matters. Businesses and individuals are treated differently in many ways, so why would anyone expect them to be treated the same here?

I don't think this delay is a good idea, but it's also not a bad thing. I'd rather see a slower roll-out done properly, than a rushed one that makes mistakes. This delay isn't intended to prevent mistakes, it's nothing but pandering to the Republicans, but in the long run it doesn't really matter to me. Every single small business in the US has known for years & years that this was coming and has had years to figure out what to do, and now they suddenly need another year? Bull****.

I do think ACA is going to be a good thing for our country. It's already a very good thing for a majority of families, and it's turning out to not a bad thing for most businesses. I'm not exactly "in support" of ACA -- I'd prefer to see us move to a *real* single-payer system and put all for-profit health insurance out of business -- but ACA is at least a move in the right direction.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"Spacers" wrote:

It's already a very good thing for a majority of families

I strongly disagree. There is absolutely no evidence that this is true and I would argue there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

You think the fact that MILLIONS of people who couldn't afford health insurance, now have it, is NOT a good thing??? Wow. :shock:

You think the fact that tens of thousands of people now have lower health insurance costs is NOT a good thing??? Wow. :shock:

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Here is how one of my friends was affected, and some of the responses on FB. So I'm not sure where the majority is that are better off.

So, I really don't want to jump on the bandwagon, and join the masses who are complaining, but right now, I must... This Healthcare Plan sucks! It was NOT supposed to affect people like us who have always had a great plan and few complaints... Meanwhile, my out of pocket deductible has DOUBLED to $4000 per year, and NOW I find out - suddenly and without warning - that my asthma/allergy meds. are "no longer covered"... but wait, now I don't have a $10 co-pay on my birth control, which basically, I really no longer need, or at least for not much longer, it's FREE now... but the asthma/allergy stuff - YES, I do NEED that - but now I pay for it myself. So, I saved myself $10 per month to now have an additional $200 per month if I want to keep taking the medicine that allows me to function on a regular basis without being a weepy, sneezy, scratchy freak from hell! WTF?!? And, let's not even talk about how it will affect my job next year during tax season... ARGH.

thats why i chose the penalty

I actually considered the penalty this year. Not happy that I couldn't keep my old policy though. Hope you find a solution.

I chose the penalty as well. For our family, the monthly premium (WITH the subsidy) was $890/month. Then, of course, you had the $1275 deductables, per person, before it would pay for anything, and even then, it was a 60/40 split. Knowing what I've spent in medical expenses over the past 7-8 years, it's going to have to get a whole lot MORE affordable before I can justify this kind of expense.

We had insurance last year through my husband. We paid nothing, and had great coverage. I had to find my own this year due to our circumstances. Mine is 900+ a month, with a 7000 deductible. This was considered compliant. :o( ridiculous.

Thats why i chose to go without insurance. all my meds and i mean ALL of them would not be covered. Esp the thyroid, likewise to keep me and you alive! Its under the category of unnecessary. WTF? Id rather pay the penalty. I mean i pay over $150 in meds a month. And my monthly insurance payment would have been over 300$ & they not cover a thing. In my mind that is 300$ lit on fire and watch burn, id rather make a car payment, or rent payment or buy food.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Yeah, and I could post about the people I know who are saving money on deductibles, whose premiums are lower, whose medications are now covered, whose kids are now covered. And did I read that right? Someone is complaining about how their premium is $300/month? Give me a ****ing break. :rolleyes: Of course a plan at that ridiculously LOW cost isn't going to cover much, and hands down I can say 100% that neither did whatever they had that was cheaper.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

And the ACA doesn't require plans to cover *every* prescription drug, but they must cover at least one drug in every category and class. So you might currently be on a name brand drug that might not be covered, but the generic version would be. Also, most insurers have, and will continue to offer, a tier system for prescriptions, so Tier 1 drugs would be covered for free, Tier 2 drugs might cost you $20-$30, and Tier 3 might cost you $50, but they are all covered by your insurance for far less than you'd pay out-of-pocket. So the argument that "none of my meds would be covered" just isn't true.

ETA: One more thing about prescriptions, if you have a medical need to take a drug that isn't on your plan's formulary, let's say you have an allergic reaction to something in the compound of one that isn't in the compound of another, or one drug might interact with something else you're taking but another drug wouldn't, then your doctor can ask for an exemption so it will be covered by your plan.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"Spacers" wrote:

You think the fact that MILLIONS of people who couldn't afford health insurance, now have it, is NOT a good thing??? Wow. :shock:

You think the fact that tens of thousands of people now have lower health insurance costs is NOT a good thing??? Wow. :shock:

You said that a majority of families would benefit from the ACA. That is flat out not true. If there are 115,226,802 families in the US USA QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau, then you would need 57,613,402 families to sign up for a majority to benefit from it.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini says Obamacare has failed in one of its primary goals — attracting the uninsured — and has managed mostly to simply move people who already had private coverage to public coverage where the government subsidizes their medical costs.

In an interview with CNBC, Bertolini said it is possible the insurance giant, with more than $27 billion in revenues, could pull out of the Obamacare program altogether.

“We see only 11 percent of the (enrolled) population is actually people that were firmly uninsured that are now insured. So [Obamacare] didn’t really eat into the uninsured population.”

Aetna CEO: Obamacare Fails to Attract the Uninsured

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Currently, the US is at the bottom of the list in the industrialized world for things like access to health care for poor people, length of life, and medical cost controls. Currently, the US is at the top of the list for things like number of people uninsured (40 million! with another 30 million under-insured) insurance profit margins, total medical costs including those covered by taxation, overuse of prescription medications, and mordibity rates from all major diseases and childbirth. We can't get much worse.

Keeping people healthy is good for society, both from a financial perspective and a health perspective. Having as many people insured as possible is good for society, both from a financial perspective and a health perspective. Keeping people out of emergency rooms for primary care is good for society, both from a financial perspective and a health perspective. So yes, I would actually say that ALL Americans are benefiting from ACA.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Aetna CEO: Obamacare Fails to Attract the Uninsured

Hmmmm.... is that the same Aetna that refused to participate in some of the ACA exchanges? The exchanges where people who don't have employer-based insurance have to buy insurance in order to get help toward their premiums? So rather than being part of the solution, they step out and then complain when it's not working quite right. Great.

And is that the same Aetna that had $34.2 BILLION in revenue last year? Hmmmm.... I wonder how many people that amount would insure? A top-shelf, no deductible family plan in California is about $20K per year, so that's nearly TWO MILLION families, easily 10 million people, that Aetna alone could cover. But they aren't.

We need to get the greed out of health care. We need to take care of our people, not pad the pockets of corporations.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"Spacers" wrote:

Currently, the US is at the bottom of the list in the industrialized world for things like access to health care for poor people, length of life, and medical cost controls. Currently, the US is at the top of the list for things like number of people uninsured (40 million! with another 30 million under-insured) insurance profit margins, total medical costs including those covered by taxation, overuse of prescription medications, and mordibity rates from all major diseases and childbirth. We can't get much worse.

Keeping people healthy is good for society, both from a financial perspective and a health perspective. Having as many people insured as possible is good for society, both from a financial perspective and a health perspective. Keeping people out of emergency rooms for primary care is good for society, both from a financial perspective and a health perspective. So yes, I would actually say that ALL Americans are benefiting from ACA.

I disagree with you that Obamacare is the answer to those problems. A huge amount of people that were uninsured before are still uninsured. People are not only going to not have insurance, but they are going to have costly penalties to pay as well. People that did have insurance before were dropped. I do not see how Obamacare has benefited more than a minority of people.

I do think there is value in Pres. Obama admitting that Obamacare is not, and can not work as written and is trying to make necessary adjustments. I do wonder about the legality of him making the changes on his own.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do think there is value in Pres. Obama admitting that Obamacare is not, and can not work as written and is trying to make necessary adjustments. I do wonder about the legality of him making the changes on his own.

He is not admitting anything. He is just putting it off a little longer so that it will affect less people by election time because he knows more people are going to be upset when the cost of the new insurance plans hit. He is doing it purely for political reasons because he doesn't want to lose senate seats.