Stop, drop, roll

Stop, drop, roll

May 13th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

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 You'd better hope the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare is repealed.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.