J. D. Heyes
Dec 17, 2012
Do you remember, at the height of the debate over the Affordable Care Act – the monstrosity that became known not so affectionately as “Obamacare” – when then-House Speaker Pelosi, D-Calif., took to the dais at the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties with this outrageous statement: “…[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
She was talking about a piece of legislation that numbered some 2,700 pages – a massive bill that most members of Congress admitted they had not read and would never read (though trust us when we tell you these same lawmakers already knew exactly what was in it).
Well, Pelosi must be feeling very relieved these days because now, at long last, Americans are finally getting to find out exactly what’s in the bill that she and others refused to discuss in detail prior to its passage.
‘So many new taxes and fees during a time of economic uncertainty’
What Americans will learn first and foremost is that Obamacare will be infinitely more expensive than they were told – costs all of us will be forced to bear, even if we vehemently opposed this blatant expansion of government power over an industry that amounts to about one-seventh of the U.S. economy.
Whether they are called “taxes” or “fees” or “regulatory costs,” Americans will be hit up six ways from Sunday for costs related to the law that President Obama, Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and everyone else who voted for it said would never pass to us.
One such fee-tax-regulatory cost is a $63-per-person stipend almost no one knew about that will help cover people who have preexisting conditions – a cost that, most likely, will be passed onto each insured person.
Again, you can thank President Obama’s healthcare “overhaul.”
The charge was, of course, buried in the recent regulation. It will work out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say.
In an interview with the Washington Times, employee benefits attorney Chantel Sheaks called it a “sleeper issue” that will have significant consequences, especially for the nation’s largest employers – all at a time when unemployment remains at historic highs.
“Especially at a time when we are facing economic uncertainty, [companies will] be hit with a multimillion-dollar assessment without getting anything back for it,” Sheaks, a principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox subsidiary, told the paper.
Based on figures contained within the regulation, some 190 million Americans on health plans for employers and individuals could wind up owing the per-person fee.
Obama administration officials say the previously undisclosed fee is only temporary, levied for three years beginning in 2014 and designed to raise $25 billion. The fee begins at $63 then falls.
Most of that money is expected to go into a fund that will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Officials say it will be used to cushion health insurance companies from the initial hard-to-predict costs of covering previously uninsured people who have preexisting medical problems. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, insurers will be forbidden from turning away already-sick patients under Obamacare statutes.
Just the beginning
The initiative “is intended to help millions of Americans purchase affordable health insurance, reduce reimbursed usage of hospital and other medical facilities by the uninsured and thereby lower medical expenses and premiums for all,” the administration says in the regulation (Note: Insurance companies that are actually in the business of insuring people say rates are going to go up, not down – and could, in fact, double in the short term).
But here’s the kicker. The initial $25 billion hike is just the beginning, “part of a bigger package of taxes and fees to finance Mr. Obama’s expansion of coverage to the uninsured,” the Times said. Over the course of the next decade, the total tab is closer to $700 billion, though no one in the administration is talking about what this additional burden will do to a still-struggling economy.
What else is included? Higher Medicare taxes, beginning Jan. 1, on people who make more than $200,000 a year or couples making less than $250,000 (Obama, always the class warrior, once pledged not to raise any taxes on folks earning less than $250,000).
The thing that Americans need to know is that these initial Obamacare taxes and “fees” are just the beginning. Needless to say, we’ll be covering this issue closely.
This article was posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 at 7:07 am