Friday, February 19, 2016

February, 2016, Part 2, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: Millionaires Get Tax Credits, Illegal Immigrants Get Tax Credits and Small Businesses Get The Shaft

Every month for years now we have had to discuss how bad Obama Care is turning out to be under the continuing theme, “the unfolding disaster that is Obama Care.” This month is no different. As the legislation continues to march through America, driving up health care and health insurance prices as it serves as dead weight on economic growth, it cements it rightful place as the worst piece of legislation Washington has ever produced.

It never had a chance to be successful since it really never addressed the underlying root causes of our ever increasing health costs in the country:

  • Americans eat too much of the wrong kind of food, resulting in obscenely high obesity rates for the country.
  • Our food chain is infested with overdoses of high fructose corn syrup, salt, and other unhealthy additives.
  • Americans smoke too much.
  • Americans do not exercise enough.
  • The country is in serious need of health care tort reform.
  • Barriers to insurance company competition across state lines need to come down.
  • Obama Care never “followed the money” to find out who is actually profiting from the ever escalating healthcare costs in this country and how to get those factors under control.
  • Obama Care never got the immense amount of fraud and abuse in current government healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid, under control in order to save money to efficiently fund other government health care initiatives.
  • Obama Care never put serious research money towards curing the major diseases that drive high healthcare costs such as high frequency cancers and dementia type diseases.
You cannot resolve any problem unless you understand and address the underlying root causes. No difference here: Obama Care legislation never addressed these listed root causes and thus, has no chance of ever being successful.

But it is not just missing the root causes of our healthcare costs that makes Obama Care so horrible. It resulted in millions of Americans losing access to their favored doctors, hospitals, and insurance policies. It has caused insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays to escalate substantially. It will likely add trillions of dollars to the national debt. It has exposed millions of Americans to higher than necessary identity theft chances. It has created government bureaucracies that are wastefully spending taxpayer wealth and being exploited by criminal elements. It has stifled economic growth and job creation.

These are just a sample of the types of idiocy that we have been reviewing for the past several years in this blog relative to Obama Care., To read those past posts, just enter the phrase, “the unfolding disaster,” in the search box above.

Yesterday and today we are reviewing the latest unfolding disasters from the worst piece of legislation ever written by Washington:

1) We often write about the disaster that Obama Care has been for American households and families. But it also has been a disaster for small businesses, the business segment that often produces the most new jobs in our economy and which sometimes create the biggest companies in the world, e.g., Facebook, Apple, etc. all started as small businesses. 

This reality was driven home by a recent article by Justin Haskins for Heartlander Magazine:

  • Haskins: “Although numerous groups are facing difficulties related to ACA, few are struggling as significantly as U.S. small businesses.”
  • 87% of that offer group health care insurance for their employees saw their insurance premiums go up 25% since 2014 despite Obama’s promises that healthcare costs would go down as a result of the legislation.
  • 12% say their premiums went up over 50% in a survey by LevelFunded Health, an insurance agency.
  • The legislation is particularly onerous for small businesses since larger businesses have a larger revenue and employee base to spread the legislative and regulatory costs and overhead of Obama Care over: “This has led numerous small businesses to cancel their health insurance benefits completely, dumping an unknown number of employees into Obamacare exchanges. This is not only bad for the employees, it’s horrible for the businesses, who are now losing quality job applicants to large corporations that offer better benefits.”
  • The LevelFunded found that 56% of the 2,500 small businesses they surveyed said they are losing quality employee candidates because of the rising costs associated with employer-provided health care plans under Obama Care. 
  • The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) under Obama Care was supposed to make it easy for small businesses to handle the Obama Care legislation requirements but like most aspects of Obama Care, it also failed: only 85,000 people from 11,000 small businesses had coverage through SHOP, according to Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News. 
  • According to Haskins: “This is significantly less than the 1 million people the Congressional Budget Office expected to be enrolled in SHOP by the end of 2015.” 
The whole mess has caused many pains for small businesses including losing top employee talent, forcing companies to drop healthcare insurance for their employees, causing small businesses to downsize to avoid Obama Care small business penalties, causing employers to cut hours of permanent employees to turn them into part time employees, or raising prices to cope with the increased costs.

Thus, when small business owners have to focus on how to stay afloat and be financially viable in the face of Obama Care’s demanding and often stupid requirements, these owners cannot devote more time to growing their businesses which results in a growing economy and growing employment opportunities. 

2) Sean Hackbarth, writing for the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, continues the storyline from above on how Obama Care is making it so expensive and difficult for small businesses to grow their businesses and take care of their employees under Obama Care:

  • Filling out complex Obama Care business tax forms is a major time destroyer for small business owners, time that could be better spent on growing their businesses. 
  • Businesses have to provide great detail on how they are or are not providing health insurance coverage to their employees.
  • The tax reporting requirements are so complex that many businesses now have to go to professionals to do their taxes, costing them time and money.
  • The New York Times confirmed the complexity and time wasting processes of Obama Care tax filings in an article about the problem: “These are some of the most complex informational returns we’ve ever seen,” said Roger Prince, a tax lawyer with the consulting firm Berry Dunn in Portland, Me.
  • Dunn claims that some of his small business clients “have spent months reconfiguring their human resources and financial systems to track the information that the new forms demand. The health care law defines a full-time-equivalent employee as someone who works an average of 30 or more hours a week — and the hours worked by some part-time employees count toward the calculation. For businesses that use many seasonal, variable-hour or temporary workers, like those in the hospitality industry, simply figuring out how many qualifying employees they have can be a challenge.” Again, more wasted time dealing with government bureaucracy than expanding and improving their businesses.
And all of this extra, useless work has been for no gain to themselves or their businesses since according to a 2015 National Small Business Association poll, 95% of the businesses polled have seen their health care insurance plan costs rise in the past five years, 90% saw their health care costs rise in 2015, and 84% expect those costs to increase in 2016, i.e. a lot of tax prep work for no gain.

3) A recent article from the Free Patriot Post website confirmed another Presidential lie about Obama Care. During a State of The Union address, Obama stood up in front of the whole country and boldly stated that only citizens of this country would get the benefit of Obama Care, its benefits would not be available to illegal immigrants. Congressman Joe Wilson blurted out that the President was a liar in the middle of the State Of The Union speech, for which he was vilified by Democrats and the liberal press.

But now it appears that Wilson was right. According to a new Senate report form the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee: “The report, produced by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, examined Affordable Care Act tax credits meant to defray the cost of insurance premiums. It found that as of June 2015, ‘the Administration awarded approximately $750 million in tax credits on behalf of individuals who were later determined to be ineligible because they failed to verify their citizenship, status as a national, or legal presence.’”

The report and analysis found that a whopping 500,000 illegal immigrants received that $750 million in Obama Care tax credits. The Centers For Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) did confirm that 471,000 people failed to prove they were citizens but still got the credits. CMS claimed that some of those 471,000 may have actually been entitled to the credits but that still proves that those credits were given out by the Feds without due diligence being done before hand.

The report also concluded that the administration has no real plan on how to claw back the money that was given out as tax credits even though that money was given out illegally. This idiotic way of paying out to people before checking them out is derisively called “pay and chase,” i.e. we will give you taxpayer wealth today even though you have not given us the documentation you are supposed to give us and maybe we will chase you later to get it back.

What a mess and half ass way of doing business.

4) One last Obama Care fail for this month and it is a doozy. According to Melissa Quinn, writing for the Heritage Foundation on February 9, 2016, loopholes within the Obama Care wording allows certain types of millionaires to qualify for taxpayer subsidized health care under Obama Care rules. Specifically:

  • Under Obama Care, people whose annual income falls under 138% of the poverty level, about $16,000 per person, can get subsidized medical care under Medicaid.
  • This is because Obama Care changed the Medicaid criteria for being eligible to strictly annual income and took away any use of net worth to determine who gets subsidized insurance coverage under Medicaid.
  • As a result, people with many assets but low annual incomes can get taxpayer support. 
  • The article quotes an insurance broker in Iowa who has a lot of clients with net worth between $2 million and $5 million, wealth and assets they have in the form of farmland or assets they received from divorce settlements but have low annual income levels.
  • Thus, according to Obama Care, you can be worth millions of dollars in assets but still get taxpayer subsidized Medicaid benefits: “It [Medicaid] was designed to help the lower-income population. But without the asset test, there are folks that have the financial means and assets there that are good at figuring out how to work the system and capture a benefit they’re entitled to.”
  • The Iowa insurance agent tells the story of an Iowa woman who received $1.5 million in land and received another $500,000 from a divorce settlement, both assets of which went into a trust and thus, is not reportable as income. This enabled her to get taxpayer subsidized Medicaid insurance coverage.
  • CNBC reported earlier this year on the subject, citing a Florida financial advisor who was helping millionaire clients to get Medicaid coverage including one client who had a net worth in assets totally millions of dollars but was still able to get a monthly subsidy of $423 a month, courtesy of the taxpayers of America.
Just when you think you have found out of the possible ways Obama Care could screw things up, a new, original one springs to life. Taxpayer subsidies for millionaires, who would have thought that the legislation could be written that badly? 

That will do it for this month as the disasters from the worst piece of legislation ever written just keep oncoming.More disasters next month, for sure.

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