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Posts Tagged ‘ObamaCare’

ObamaCare Kickoff! By How Much Will My Insurance Rates Drop?

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2013 at 11:48 pm

It’s a cool evening in Illinois.  I’m sitting here on the cold, metal stadium seating, typing by backlight of a laptop.  ObamaCare kicks off in less than an hour!  And perhaps the Federal Government partly shuts down.  Assuming he’s still on the team payroll at midnight, when the President steps forward, will he sky the pigskin to the seats?  Or will it be a squib kick, bouncing a few times before dying? 

Back in 2010, Obama promised I’d be able to keep my plan if I like it, keep my doctor, and my premiums would drop.  I’m so excited!  In just a few minutes, assuming the Illinois ObamaCare website actually works, I’ll see how much I will save!  Yes, there are many ‘glitches’ with the roll-out.  If I, say, wanted Spanish language enrollment in Nevada, mala suerte… hasta Thanksgiving.  Small business plans?  Oops, check back some other time.  But, here in this ‘blue’ wonderland we call Illinois, government healthcare looks as unstoppable as a three hundred pound lineman.

Check back for the latest in health care savings… brought to you by ObamaCare!

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ObamaCare Buyer’s Remorse

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2013 at 12:36 am

The Administration’s implemenation of “ObamaCare” is proving problematic.  Some unions are not turning against the very law they once supported.  See this link for a detailed story: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/unions-grow-wary-health-law-034700539.html

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 of Countryside, Ill., which represents construction workers and insures about 65,000 people, is also examining whether some lower-earning workers would eventually be better off leaving the union-sponsored plan and instead getting federally subsidized insurance.

 

“I’ve told my members, as this evolves, your health care will not look like it does today,” said James Sweeney, president and business manager of the local. “I have to cut it back.”

One of the laws’ architects, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), told HHS head Sebelius he sees “a huge train wreck coming down” because of Administration implementation failures.  (see  http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/max-baucus-stirring-controversy-on-all-sides-90295.html#ixzz2QycKQV7Z)

Tax Code and ObamaCare Credits So Complex, Many Firms Won’t Use Them

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm

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ObamaCare includes various tax increases and some tax credits.  Part of the expressed aim of the bill in to induce some mid-size employers to offer health insurance through tax credits, funded by tax increases on others.

One obvious flaw with the thinking is the tax code is already mind-numbingly complex.  The linked Wall Street Journal article is about many companies not even taking advantage of existing tax laws.  The rules are complex, taking a credit may invite an IRS audit and many tax breaks require copious time and paperwork.  I predict many employers will do the same with the ObamaCare bill’s credits, as they look at costs and benefits and then factor in the complexity of the credits and related IRS audit flags and hassle.

In the Washington, DC vacuum that allows a President to think “the private sector is doing fine” or entrepreneurs “didn’t build” their businesses, no one presumably thinks about the actual businesspeople who have to live with these laws.  If pols did, they’d think twice about yet more tax rules.

“One example of the tough-to-take breaks is the federal Work Opportunity credit. It was designed to reward companies for hiring workers from several disadvantaged groups, including welfare and food stamp recipients, youths seeking summer jobs and ex-felons. The break typically lowers a company’s taxes by up to $2,400 per employee. For businesses hiring unemployed veterans, it can be worth as much as $9,600 per worker.

 

The credit frequently goes unclaimed, largely because it is such a hassle. It requires extensive paperwork for each worker for whom it is claimed and the paperwork can often take a year or more to process. Sarah Hamersma, a University of Florida professor, estimates that companies claim the credit for just 20% to 35% of all eligible workers.

 

J.J. Pledger, chief financial officer for the Twisted Root gourmet burger chain in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said he spent the better part of a day last year trying to figure out how his company could obtain the credit. Mr. Pledger, a CPA, knew the credit likely would be available for a number of his company’s 200 or so annual hires. But the more he read, “it seemed like the documentation of the tax credit could be really hard to administer,” he recalled. One concern was all the personal information needed from job applicants. “So I put it on the back burner…. It seemed too daunting.” [1]

[1] article is free, no paywall.  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444025204577543060812237798.html

Justice Alito Points Out Health Insurance Mandate Would Apply to Burial Insurance

In Government Power, Obama Administration, ObamaCare on March 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm

By President Obama’s reasoning, the US government can force you to buy burial insurance.  Perhaps burial insurance will be a future “reform” that Washington will mandate on us.

Justice Samuel Alito pointed this out in Tuesday’s Supreme Court oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the insurance mandate of ObamaCare/PPACA.  As shown in the transcript below [1], Alito calls out that Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is incorrect in saying burial services are different.  The exact same logic applies. 

In fact, as shown in numerous articles [2] [3], many states have been inundated with indigent burials.  Illinois actually stopped paying for them for a time.  If the government can force you to buy health insurance lest you later receive services you cannot pay for, it can also force you to buy burial insurance.  Everyone dies and those who lack burial insurance and lack the means to pay for a burial are paid for by everyone else through indigent burials.

JUSTICE ALITO: Do you think there is a, a market for burial services? 

VERRILLI: For burial services? 

JUSTICE ALITO: Yes. 

VERRILLI: Yes, Justice Alito, I think there is. 

JUSTICE ALITO: All right, suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, “You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else.” 

Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing? 

VERRILLI: No, that – 

JUSTICE ALITO: And if that’s true, why isn’t it equally artificial to say that somebody who is doing absolutely nothing about health care is financing health care services? 

VERRILLI: It’s, I think it’s completely different. The — and the reason is that the, the burial example is not — the difference is here we are regulating the method by which you are paying for something else — health care — and the insurance requirement — I think the key thing here is my friends on the other side acknowledge that it is within the authority of Congress under Article I under the commerce power to impose guaranteed-issue and community rating forms, to end — to impose a minimum coverage provision. Their argument is just that it has to occur at the point of sale, and – 

JUSTICE ALITO: I don’t see the difference. You can get burial insurance. You can get health insurance. Most people are going to need health care. Almost everybody. Everybody is going to be buried or cremated at some point. What’s the difference? 

VERRILLI: Well, one big difference, one big difference, Justice Alito, is the — you don’t have the cost shifting to other market participants. Here – 

JUSTICE ALITO: Sure you do, because if you don’t have money then the State is going to pay for it. [1]

 

[1] http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2012/March/27/transcript-highlights-Supreme-Court-day-2.aspx

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/us/11burial.html

[3] http://www.sj-r.com/news/x135715760/State-stops-paying-for-indigent-burials

Taxes Already Going Up On Warren Buffett

In Buffett Rule, Income Tax Rates, Obama Administration, Warren Buffett on September 20, 2011 at 1:46 am

Warren Buffett does not have to worry: his income tax rate will be rising about 3.8% on January 1, 2013.   He does not even need a new “Buffett Rule” tax:  it is a part of the health care reform bill of 2010 (“ObamaCare”) that “unearned income” (meaning interest, dividends and capital gains like those enjoyed by Mr. Buffett) will pay an additional surtax of 3.8% on amounts over $200,000 for individual taxpayers. [1]  

This means Mr. Buffett’s average income tax rate, which he says was 17.7% in 2010, will be approximately 21.5% under the 2013 tax rates.  The new rate is already enacted as law.  This fact is certainly relevant for any discussions of a “Buffett Rule” or higher tax rates on the affluent, yet it seems to be almost completely ignored in the media.

For more on Mr. Buffett’s misleading opinion piece, see https://econscius.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/trust-a-cpa-warren-buffet-is-wrong-about-tax-rates/ and https://econscius.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/is-warren-buffetts-924725-employee-super-rich/

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[1] http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/04/Obamacare-Impact-on-Taxpayers

Pictures from Wikipedia Commons.  Disclosure: the author owned common stock in Berkshire Hathaway as of this writing.