In our Spending Daily posts over the last several weeks we’ve highlighted several negative – if unintended – consequences of Obamacare. It wasn’t easy narrowing these stories down, but in today’s “Top Five” we list the worst outcomes of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
- Americans Will Lose Their Health Insurance; Pay More. According to the Congressional Budget Office, about seven million Americans will lose their current health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Healthy Americans will also likely see their premiums rise. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Healthy consumers could see insurance rates double or even triple when they look for individual coverage under the federal health law later this year …”
- Businesses Won’t Expand; Employee Hours Cut. The mandate that requires employers to provider health insurance to their employees kicks in when a company has 50 or more full-time workers. The cut-off was put in the law so it would not be a burden on small businesses (a significant and worthy concern), but the mandate will also keep small businesses on the cusp of adding more than 50 employees from expanding. Last week, The Associated Press looked at this issue. According to the wire service, “A year ago, Teresa Hartnett was on the verge of expanding her small business. The company had hit $1 million in sales, and requests from clients were flowing in. She planned to transition from nearly 30 freelancers to a full-time staff of 60 by 2014. Then the reality of the Affordable Health Care Act hit. Hartnett realized she might not be able to afford to carry out her plan. The law undid all Hartnett’s hard work and dreams. Hartnett said, “At the end of that marathon of effort and sweat and stress, I’d face the impact of the ACA. I decided against it.” Of course, businesses can deal with the mandate another way: by cutting current full-time employees’ hours back to the part-time level (30 hours). Schools in Florida have taken this action as small businesses all over the country.
- Spouses, Children Dropped From Employer Insurance Plans. The Atlanta Business Chornicle reported today that UPS planned to drop spouses from 15,000 employee health care plans. These individuals are assumed to be eligible for health insurance elsewhere, but carrying several different providers will make health care decisions more complex – and potentially costly – for the average family.
- Fewer Choices. According to The Wall Street Journal, the insurance plans offered under Obamacare may severely restrict Americans’ choices of doctors and medical care. The newspaper reports, “A McKinsey & Co. analysis of 955 consumer exchange-plan filings, from 13 states that were among the earliest to make them public, found that 47% were health-maintenance organizations or similarly designed plans. Such plans generally don’t pay for care provided outside their networks. A number of other plans, though classed as preferred-provider organizations, or PPOs, will also have limited choices of doctors and hospitals in their networks.”
- Higher Prices For Younger Workers. Young, healthy Americans are the most likely to be uninsured. Being young and healthy, they risk going without insurance. Now, they will have to get insurance or pay a hefty fine. And if they choose to buy insurance, they’re going to pay higher prices than if they had bought insurance before Obamacare took effect. Take a look at what’s happened in Colorado: according to The Hill, “Young people in Colorado will pay more to buy a bare-bones insurance plan under Obamacare … The average premium for a middle-of-the-road policy will roughly hold steady across the state, but premiums for the cheapest policies appear likely to rise. A 27-year-old non-smoker would pay $135 per month next year for the state’s cheapest catastrophic plan — the skimpiest level of coverage available through the healthcare law’s new insurance exchanges. That’s about 140 percent more than the cheapest policy on the market today.” According to the Newark Star-Ledger, these more affordable plans are being completely eliminated in New Jersey, a move that will raise costs for 100,000 state residents.