Obamacare: Dangerous to Your Health


BACKGROUND.  Federal government programs already insure about 52% of Americans.   Implementing ObamaCare will consume 2,000 bureaucratic pages of additional regulations, according to the NE Dept. of Insurance.  The federal Dept. of Health & Human Services currently is implementing the regulations.

MORE REGULATIONS.  ObamaCare imposes many new burdensome and costly regulations on private health insurance plans.  As of Sept. 2010, private insurance companies cannot deny coverage to children under 19 based upon pre-existing conditions.  Also, restrictions on rescinding coverage.  Elimination of lifetime limits on dollar value of essential benefits in insurance coverage.  Regulations that allow insurance plans to impose only few annual limits on the dollar value of essential benefits. Each state must create an exchange to facilitate sale of qualified benefit plans to individuals, including government administered multi-state plans.  The NE Dept. of Insurance has no idea how it will meet this mandate.  Minimum loss ratio requirements established for insurers in all markets, 85% for large group plans and 80% for individual and small group plans.  Such mandates will result in fewer companies offering coverage in particular areas, especially rural NE, resulting in less consumer private choice and forcing people into government programs.
Coming in 2012: Mandatory long-term care payroll deductions.  Requirements for electronic health records and billings, which would allow hackers to access private, personal medical information and use it for spurious or illegal purposes and lead to identity theft.

Coming in 2014: Complete prohibitions on annual limits or lifetime limits in all group and individual policies, regarding dollar value of essential benefit insurance coverage. Plan exclusions because of pre-existing medical conditions prohibited in all markets. ObamaCare requires first dollar coverage on specific preventive care instead of a deductible.  Extended coverage for “children” to age 26.   Prohibitions against refusing insurance applications because of pre-existing condition restrictions on kids under 19.  Coverage for children regardless of health status.  Significant expansion of well child health care.  Increased bureaucratic review of rate increases and medical cost ratios.  Prohibitions against charging higher premiums based on gender identification.  This provision would force insurance companies to pay for sex change surgeries and psychiatric and psychological counseling for the gender-confused.  Those who can afford it must obtain basic health insurance or pay a fee. Private companies must offer insurance coverage on a guaranteed issue basis in all markets, with renewable guarantees. 

TOUGH ON CONSUMERS. A $2,500 cap on medical flexible spending account contributions annually indexed for inflation, resulting in additional taxation.   The tax on distributions from individual Health Savings Accounts not used for qualified medical expenses increases from 10% to 20%.  Over the counter drugs no longer reimbursable under HSAs unless prescribed by a physician.  Additional .9% Medicare Hospital Insurance tax on self-employed persons and employees with wages and earnings above $200,000 for individuals and above $250,000 for joint filers.  The self-employed cannot deduct this new tax.  A new 3.8% Medicare tax on specific unearned income from individuals with income over $200,000, $250,000 for joint filers.  For example, one selling a home would pay this tax.  Itemized deductions for unreimbursed medical expenses would increase from 7.5% of adjusted gross income to 10%. ObamaCare regulations are so complicated that consumers will need the help of insurance agents and brokers to select policies, causing more expense for individuals and small employers. 

WELFARE EXPANSION.  ObamaCare greatly expands Medicaid coverage in Nebraska. The Milliman Report pegged additional Medicaid funding needs in Nebraska at between $500-$700 million.  ObamaCare would cover 5.2 million illegal aliens, 11% of the uninsured.

TOUGH ON BUSINESSES.  ObamaCare creates a bureaucratic public long-term care program and forces all employers to enroll employees. Employers of over 200 employees must enroll them in a health plan. Small businesses will face a tax credit phase-out after providing health insurance for employees. Employers with 50 or more full-time employees/part-time employees must offer minimum health insurance coverage.  Those not providing will face a $2,000 fine “x” the number of full-time employees or $3,000 fines “x” the number of employees receiving tax credits. Employers must pay penalties, if their employees receive tax credits.  Employers must submit annual coverage reports and cannot treat some employee insurance benefits better than those for other employees.  A company that sells over $600 in services or goods in a transaction must fill out a Form 1099 for each for the IRS.  The IRS admits that it cannot administer this regulation.  Businesses will face huge new expenses in time and personnel to understand and implement the endless pages of rules and regulations, passing along added expenses to consumers of their goods and services.

TAKE ACTION NOW.   The federal court system, accepting challenges, could negate parts of ObamaCare, some portions that would essentially neutralize the law, as the various parts appear so integrated.  The 2011Congress can revise parts of the ObamaCare legislation and defund but not repeal it.  President Obama will veto a repeal attempt, and conservatives will lack the 2/3rds majorities in both House and Senate to override his veto.  Repeal may appear likely after the 2012 election, if we elect additional conservatives to both Houses and a conservative president.  Meanwhile, premiums for individuals and employees will skyrocket to subsidize more on government programs and pay for added insurance company costs.  Use the enclosed Capitol Hill contact sheet to lobby your representative and 2 senators to co-sponsor and support legislation to defund and neutralize as many sections of ObamaCare as possible.

Research, analysis, and documentation for this issue paper done by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom.  This material copyrighted by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission.

NTF Issue Paper: president7.doc. 11-10.

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