At this writing, we are 48 days from the most up for an election of our time. The central issue is the economy, which is failing, and shows no signs of recovery with the current strategy. One of the largest issues that impacts economy is one that is being forgotten by some. The health care issue is weighing on the economy like a dragging anchor.
Not long ago I heard about one of the hidden taxes embedded in Obamacare that required me to file a 1099 form every time I do as much as $600 worth of business with a given vendor. Of course, I have neither the resources nor the money to invest in such a frivolous activity, and my intention was to ignore the law because it is not reasonable or workable in any manner. It was designed to create a way to track commerce so that it can be taxed further. Fortunately, both houses of Congress realized how insane this piece of Obamacare was and how it would negatively impact small businesses like mine. It was repealed.
Another federal money grab is a 2.3% tax on medical devices. It will run up the cost of inventing and manufacturing life-saving medical technology, but the additional hidden cost will be another 43,000 jobs lost due to the negative financial impact on this industry.
The chief Medicare actuary stated that based on their research, the medical device tax would increase the cost of dental care by $160 million per year. This cost was certainly not figured into what was sold to us when this law was being written behind closed doors. Increasing cost on a system as unstable as Medicare does not seem like a good idea.
According to the Heritage Foundation, if employers are forced to provide health benefits under Obamacare, many more people will lose their jobs because the employer burden will vary from an extra $3500 for a single minimum-wage employee to over $11,000 for a minimum-wage employee with the family. Under the law, full-time employees must be offered the same benefits at no more than 9 1/2% of the employee’s household income. We have already seen that even when businesses have significant amounts of cash, hiring trends are depressed as businesses live in the environment of fear.
A clear winner in this environment will be the temporary staffing agencies. If this law stands, they could become profitable because businesses will replace full-time employees with part-time employees so that their penalties (Obamacare taxes) will be lower.
So, what is the real hidden cost of Obamacare? I submit that the largest hidden cost is redoubled unemployment. The hardest hit will be those with the least skills, who are more likely to already be on government assistance of some kind. This increases the burden on the minority of America that actually pays taxes. Can implosion and collapse be far behind?
I find it interesting to see how states are already responding to the demand or compliance that will come from the federal government. Gov. Perry of Texas has drawn a line in the sand. The Washington Times reported it this way:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday his state won’t expand Medicaid or set up an insurance exchange, joining a growing number of Republican governors who are rejecting two key parts of President Obama’s health care law.
“I will not be party to socializing health care and bankrupting my state in direct contradiction to our Constitution and our founding principles of limited government,” Mr. Perry said.
The Georgia legislature has declined to act on the creation of the required insurance exchange, in an apparent "wait and see" approach, pending repeal of Obamacare after the November election. I would not be surprised to see Georgia fall in behind Texas. I think a number of "red states" may do the same. This will trigger intervention from Health and Human Services
(HHS), as they are supposed to step in and create an insurance exchange for us and force us to comply. It is not clear, however, whether HHS has the money or manpower clients on multiple states at the same time. I personally rally behind this strategy for states to defend themselves against this huge and unprecedented unfunded mandate. This rebellion has a distinctly Southern ring to it.
I still do not know how this law, if it stands, will affect practices like mine. We got out of the insurance game some time ago, but will Obamacare force participation like Medicare does? If so, will I be forced by law to participate in a plan that will not pay me enough to keep my doors open? This very question is on the minds of many medical practitioners who are retiring or changing careers just to avoid the whole mess.
This is the most important election of our time. It is a choice between America and…something else.