Massachusetts smugly preened as the Democrats rammed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, through Congress. But in a column published today, March 25, some of the nasty surprises of Obamacare are coming to light, particularly for small to medium-size businesses (SMBs).
Massachusetts thought that, because Obamacare was modeled on its own health insurance mandate, nothing would change. But as the column states, “Instead, local bureaucrats are learning hard lessons about the rigidity of federal regulations, even if they’re modeled on laws already in place.”
The first unpleasant surprise for small businesses is the part of Obamacare that requires a once-a-year rate-setting for small businesses. This forces health insurers to raise rates to anticipate unforseen events.
Anti-Obamacare protesters wear masks of U.S. President Barack Obama and Grim Reaper as they demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court June 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. Anti-Obamacare protesters wear masks of U.S. President Barack Obama and Grim Reaper as they demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court June 28, 2012 in Washington, DC.
In the second nasty surprise, which hits businesses between 50 and 100 employees, these SMBs are corralled into the “merged market” category with smaller companies and even individuals. This mandate forces SMBs to consider becoming self-insured, which is risky, rather than get hit with the steep rate increases about to slam small businesses.
So, after years of pressure from Gov. Deval L. Patrick to coerce insurers and hospitals to contain rates and prices, along comes Obamacare to create brand new, arbitrary cost pressures on small business.
Yet Obamacare remains the proverbial feather in the cap of Democrats, according to the column. It’s a puzzling position, given that Democrats position themselves in favor of the little guy, the mom-and-pops, the small business owners and the middle class. Who could forget the ads for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) ads during campaign season featuring her shaking hands with small business owners? Yet there they are, championing legislation that hurts the very people they’re trying to help.
Further, with so many medical device manufacturers now facing taxes under Obamacare, medical device entrepreneurship may be stifled as well. It takes away the incentive to find new, innovative ways to treat patients and replaces it with a penalty on entrepreneurship.
Is that any way to boost the economy and help the middle class? This doesn’t sound like an Affordable Care Act. This sounds more like a Working People Penalty Act.
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