The bad news for Obamacare just keeps coming. The Democrats who enacted the massive health-overhaul law thought they could rewrite the rules of how our economy works, but their arrogance is coming face to face with reality: Jobs are in jeopardy, as employers examine the impact of Obamacare; the cost of the legislation is already rising; and more states have joined a lawsuit challenging the health-care law and Washington’s growing power.
Jobs: An analysis conducted by officials of the White Castle restaurant chain and released by House Republican Leader John Boehner says that just one provision of Obamacare will effectively cut the chain’s net income in half and reduce future job creation.
White Castle vice president Jamie Richardson explained that the provision that has the company “most concerned is the $3,000 penalty that kicks in when an employee’s portion of a premium exceeds 9.5 percent of household income.”
He explained that “this provision alone would lead to approximate increased costs equal to over 55 percent of what we earn annually in net income.” He added: “Effectively cutting our net income in half would have [a] devastating impact on the business — cutting future expansion and more job creation at least in half. Sadly, it makes it difficult to justify growing where jobs are needed most — in lower income areas.”
Higher costs: The Congressional Budget Office updated its estimates of the cost of Obamacare by $115 billion this week, bringing the total estimate to $1 trillion and wiping out promises that the law would lower the deficit. And $1 trillion already is a fictional number based upon unrealistically high assumptions about spending cuts to Medicare and unrealistically low assumptions about the cost of the program.
Lawsuits: Seven more states have joined Florida’s lawsuit challenging Obamacare, bringing the total to 20. Significantly, the National Federation of Independent Business joined the suit Friday on behalf of its 350,000 members.
Small-business owners are outraged over the individual mandate, the 1099 reporting requirements, taxes that will drive up premium costs, and tax credits that will do little to make purchasing insurance more affordable for small firms.
The lawsuits will continue to make their way through the courts. The more judges see the opposition grow, the more seriously they will consider the challenges. Others are likely to join the suit as people begin to see the harm to businesses, large and small, across the country and the impact of new taxes, fees, and regulations on health-care costs.
States are doing detailed analysis of the budget impact of Obamacare. Indiana released a study showing that law could cost the state an additional $3.6 billion over ten years — money Hoosiers don’t have and don’t want to spend on a federal takeover of the health sector. And Louisiana has become the latest state to pass legislation saying that the federal government cannot tell its citizens they must purchase health insurance. Other ballot initiatives, constitutional amendments, and state legislation this year give citizens a way to challenge Obamacare.
And with 19 states so far telling Washington they won’t serve as contractors to run its new high-risk pools, there is growing state resistance to Washington’s plans to force them to “take the blame for anything that goes wrong, handle any unfunded hidden implementation costs, and fall into line as branch offices for HHS,” health expert Tom Miller observes.
Many of the states going along with Obamacare are led by governors who will be gone before having to face the consequences of their short-sighted decision, such as California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Governors elected this fall will have a much longer-term view and will likely be even more resistant to acting as servants of HHS.
Funding: There will be two federal elections before the most onerous parts of Obamacare take effect in 2014. If one or the other house of Congress should change hands in November, it will be very difficult for President Obama to get approval for funding for this hugely unpopular law. That will slow implementation and give voters a chance to speak out in 2012 about the future of the law.
Businesses, health-care professionals, taxpayers, and virtually everyone affected will learn more details about its impact. Health costs and outrage will grow. People are seeing through the sugarcoating to the core of the legislation and its damaging impact on our health sector and economy. But in the meantime, American business and the health sector have no choice but to press on and comply with the new law, restructuring around the volumes of yet-to-be-written regulations telling them how the law will work and how they must be subservient to Washington’s growing power.