published Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Stop, drop, roll

Tennessee's former governor, Democrat Phil Bredesen, wrote in an October 2010 editorial for the Wall Street Journal assessing his party's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that "... our recent health reform has created a situation where there are strong economic incentives for employers to drop coverage altogether. The consequence will be to drive many more people than projected -- and with them, much greater cost -- into the reform's federally subsidized system."

What does that mean? Like your health care coverage you now have through your employer? You'd better hope the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare is repealed.

The sentiments of the opinion piece written a year and a half ago are echoed in a May 1 report prepared for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee: "Broken Promise: Why ObamaCare Will Force Americans to Lose the Health Care Coverage They Have and Like."

The mandate included in Obama's signature legislation forces all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to offer a government-approved health care plan or pay a $2,000 penalty per employee.

Seventy-one Fortune 100 companies responded to a survey demonstrating that, in 2011, they employed 5.9 million full- and part-time workers spending $30.8 billion on health insurance that covered 10.2 million lives. Of these 71 companies, 89 percent offered insurance to part-time employees.

These same 71 companies could enjoy a projected savings of $28.6 billion in 2014 alone by eliminating health insurance offered to their employees and dependents and simply paying the $2,000 fine per full-time employee as mandated by the law.

Other surveys support the likely move of businesses to end employee-sponsored health coverage.

In May of last year, Price Waterhouse published a report foreseeing an 8.5 percent increase in medical costs and stating "84 percent of firms surveyed are likely to re-evaluate their overall benefits strategy."

Market Strategies International released a publication in January 2011 that estimated a 10 percent net decline in access to employer-sponsored health benefits as of January 2014, the year the health care legislation would be fully implemented.

In another Wall Street Journal piece in June 2011, the McKinsey Group showed "30 percent of employers say they will definitely or probably will stop offering health care coverage after 2014."

The business response to the president's signing Obamacare into law in March 2010 already points to the trend ahead. The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee report notes, "The percentage of full-time employees with employer-sponsored coverage dropped 2.5 percent in 2011 from 73.4 percent to 70.9 percent in 2010."

The brush fire that began with "health care reform" is moving dangerously through the nation's businesses. Those businesses are facing a decision to pay a fine and avoid the necessity of the federal government's approval or deal with rising costs that will result from the backdraft of unintended consequences of federal subsidies and regulations.

It's time to stop, drop and roll. America has to see the repeal of Obama's reckless policy. The 2012 election is the firewall.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

You do know Republicans proposed this idea, right?

But seriously, I thought it was repeal and replace.

I think you're leaving out the important part.


May 13, 2012 at 12:08 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

I'll tell you why this editor, like all other conservatives, leaves out the important part, hwnb: he/they don't have a clue about how to replace it, and furthermore they don't care. Their "plan," if one dares to call it that, is to just go back to the way it was, when those who could afford it or were lucky enough to have it were getting the "best health care in the world" (at least for themselves), and those who can't afford to buy it obviously don't deserve to have it anyway, as far as they're concerned. This editor was probably one of the ones cheering and clapping at home in front of his TV as the savages in the audience cheered and clapped when Ron Paul made the infamous comment in the debates about letting a young man die who didn't buy health insurance for himself. The Repubs have no plan whatsoever for anything that involves helping the middle class or the impoverished. Now, if it's a matter of making the one-percenters richer and fatter...they have plenty of ideas for that.

May 13, 2012 at 1:36 a.m.
conservative said...

"30 percent of employers say they will definitely or probably will stop offering health care coverage after 2014."

That would be a no brainer for me. No one would like the $2,000 fine but it would still be cheaper and far less headaches for the business owner than buying insurance for their employees and having to negotiate with a union.

It would weaken unions because they would lose the bargaining power of health care benefits as this monkey would be off the business back. Let the unions bargain with the federal government. Good luck with that.

May 13, 2012 at 7:35 a.m.

Rickaroo: But they tell us they know what's better for us!

Conservative: You mean like the numerous unions that already have contracts with the federal government and you endlessly complain about them having too much power?

But yeah, single-payer WOULD spare businesses lots of headaches.

Efficiency, it must be a dirty word.

May 13, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.