Bamboozled by Obamacare

Thursday, 10 Jan 2013 07:42 AM

By Neal Asbury

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As a small business owner, I knew it was coming. As a skeptic of any pronouncement by the White House relating to healthcare, I knew consumers and small businesses would get socked with higher rates. And as an employer who works with private health insurance providers, I knew they would be able to manipulate Obamacare to make even more money. It has all come to pass as I had feared.

Remember how private insurance companies were bemoaning that under Obamacare they would have to cover pre-existing conditions and that they had to insure anyone that asked for coverage? And that they would all go under? What they failed to mention is what they would charge for coverage.

Now a New York Times story reveals that “without a federal provision giving regulators the ability to deny excessive rate increases, some insurance companies can raise rates as much as they did before the law was enacted.”

Editor's Note : Video Exposes Dangers of Obamacare Law

In other words, Obamacare came with a giant loophole that is going to make insurance companies richer while making small businesses poorer.

The Times further notes that “health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s healthcare law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.”

How bad will small businesses get hit with rising healthcare costs? “In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013,” The Times reports. “These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.”

In other states, like Ohio and Florida, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policyholders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month.

I consider it part of my responsibilities as an American entrepreneur to provide jobs at fair salaries. But if I hire an employee making $30,000 per annum, I need to add to this a family’s healthcare policy of approximately $15,000. This is already 50 percent of one’s salary.

How can America compete? How can this continue? What happens when the cost of family coverage for healthcare becomes 70 percent or 80 percent of one’s salary?

One of the mandates of Obamacare is that firms with 50 employees or more have to pay a penalty that starts at $2,000 per full-time employee in 2014 if they don’t provide health insurance or their plans don’t meet the government standard.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says it will cost the country a million jobs if fully implemented.

Just how important is healthcare to the average worker? According to the American Journal of Medicine, 62 percent of all the people who declared bankruptcy in the year prior to the financial crisis in 2008 were ruined by an illness they could not afford. Worse, the majority of those who declared bankruptcy that year were covered by health insurance.

Got that? Despite having health insurance, they declared bankruptcy due to a health condition.

Editor's Note : Video Exposes Dangers of Obamacare Law

Do we honestly think that insurance companies haven’t figured out how to exploit Obamacare to make money at the expense of the little guy?

If health insurance rates go up by 20 percent or more, like many small businesses, I have to tell potential employees that I can’t hire them because health insurance costs are prohibitive. Multiply that by about 27 million small businesses in this country, and you can see why 25 million Americans are still unemployed or underemployed.

Do you want to know where the jobs are? In the insurance industry, of course. The trillion-dollar + insurance industry currently employs approximately 2.5 million Americans. It is estimated that jobs for insurance agents, adjusters, brokers and underwriters will rise by more than 8 percent in the next few years.

There you have it. Insurance companies have the green light to raise their premiums. This allows them to hire more employees, while small businesses cannot hire or must lay off employees.

Welcome to the realities of Obamacare, where nothing is as it seems, and where the only people who lose are the American people.

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

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