Americans Are Biggest Losers In Obama’s Changes To The Law
The Obama administration’s announcement that the employer mandate will be delayed yet another year for employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers will clobber taxpayers because fewer people getting coverage on the job means more people needing coverage at the public’s expense.
The sudden change also trashes the rule of law. Presidents lack the constitutional authority to make such changes. Their job is to see that the law is “faithfully executed,” not improvised.
The upside for the president and his party is that Democrats seeking re-election this fall will face fewer angry constituents complaining about the impact of ObamaCare on hiring. The mandate delay is a political act. Rule of law and taxpayers be damned.
The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, requires all employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide a mandated health benefits package by Jan. 1, 2014, or pay hefty penalties. But last July, the president delayed the mandate to January 2015. And Monday, he did it again.
As Ronald Reagan would have said: “There he goes again.” Obama’s Treasury Department announced that the mandate will be delayed to January 2016 for midsize employers. This will affect about 1.9 million workers now uninsured who work in the private sector and a small number of public-sector employees.
These currently uninsured workers are mandated by law to have coverage, but their chances of getting it on the job anytime soon are gone. So, they’ll have to sign up for an ObamaCare exchange plan or Medicaid, or continue uninsured and risk a penalty.
They’re not the only losers. Obama’s latest is likely to cost taxpayers $20 billion to $25 billion in 2015 alone.
Some uninsured workers will go without coverage, but those with dependents are likely to seek it. They’ll be eligible, on average, for a $5,330 subsidy in 2015, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
That’s for one person. Add an additional subsidy for each dependent. All in all, it probably adds up to $25 billion, less whatever fees the government would have collected on noncompliant employers had the mandate stayed in effect.
Offsetting that added cost somewhat is a provision that employers with 50 to 99 workers can qualify for the mandate delay only if they do not drop whatever coverage they offer now.
But it’s just as unlikely that insurers will do a 180-degree turn and offer the old noncompliant small-group plans as they were unwilling to renew those non-compliant plans in the individual market.
That provision was added to let the president to claim that whatever disruptions occur are not the fault of ObamaCare. He’s worried about public relations, not taxpayers.
But who cares about taxpayers? Delay serves the president’s political goals. It will increase the pathetic enrollment figures for ObamaCare, making it appear successful. Most important, delay will shield Democratic politicians from a repeat of what occurred last year.
In 2013, many employers pushed workers down to part-time status (below 30 hours a week) and avoided hiring full-time workers to stay below the 50 mark in anticipation of the employer mandate. An employer’s obligation is determined by the size of his workforce the previous year during what is called a “look back” period.
A shocking 77% of new hires in the first seven months of 2013 were part-timers. That distressing trend was suddenly reversed last July, when Obama announced that the employer mandate would be delayed a year.
Now, the administration is acting to prevent a repeat of the part-time hiring trend before the midterm elections. That’s the reason for the delay.
The administration apparently is so worried about employers avoiding the mandate that it took the draconian, illegal step of requiring employers to “self-attest” under penalty of perjury on a form filed with the Internal Revenue Service that they haven’t changed workers’ hours or reduced their workforce for that reason.
The IRS is creating a crime where Congress has not made one. Nothing bars an employer from making a business judgment to reduce his workforce. But the Obama administration now warns that Big Brother will be deciding whether a business has a legitimate reason for the change.
Worst of all, the administration has the gall to say there may be more mandate delays and other changes ahead. Americans should worry. The Constitution does not allow the president to change the law. That’s the job of our elected representatives in Congress.
Whatever the dollar cost to taxpayers, the biggest cost is borne by all Americans. We are losing our right to self-government and the protection of the rule of law.