Earlier this month the Obama Administration publicly acknowledged what many in Congress, healthcare experts, employers and everyday Americans have been predicting for the past three years; namely, Obamacare is too deeply flawed to implement and ultimately unworkable in reality.
With the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last year, Obamacare's taxes on individuals and employers who refused to purchase or provide healthcare insurance became the law of the land. Thus, the focus turned towards implementation of the 2,000 page law and its tens of thousands of pages of regulations. Few if any experts believe the Obama Administration when it repeatedly states that rollout of Obamacare is "on track," as the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) contends. Furthermore, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has raised significant questions as to the law's readiness including the lack of extensive testing of the new systems which will operate the marketplace exchanges.
On July 2nd, the Obama Administration justified these concerns by announcing it was delaying until 2015 the requirement for employers with at least 50 workers to offer health coverage due to complicated regulations issued by the IRS and HHS. (Businesses with less than 50 employees remain exempt from this mandate.) While this gives a temporary reprieve to medium and large businesses, it does not change course for some employers who have already opted for more temporary, part-time workers and cut the hours of full-time employees to avoid the coverage requirements. Likewise, there is speculation that more employers will attempt to avoid the tax penalty altogether by simply dropping healthcare plans they currently offer in 2014 as the scheduled marketplace exchanges come online, forcing workers to secure their own coverage.
Delays in implementation and persistent questions from non-partisan experts such as the GAO further erode the existing minority public support. The top Senate Democrat who authored Obamacare recently described implementation of the law as "a train wreck." Skepticism, uncertainty and anxiety continue in the eyes of local healthcare professionals, our small business owners and seniors. Not a week goes by that I don't hear from South Jersey families and family-owned businesses looking at their finances and fearing hikes in health premiums such as those reported in California, Ohio and other states.
Three years after Democrat majorities rammed Obamacare through Congress, House Republicans have successfully repealed or defunded eight provisions within the healthcare law, including the excessive small business reporting 1099 mandate and several slush funds that saved taxpayers more than $25 billion. Despite repeated attempts, the most egregious parts still remain: the individual mandate to purchase coverage or pay a penalty; the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices such as wheelchairs and hearing aids; and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), one of more than 100 panels of unelected bureaucrats that will have the unchecked power to make reductions in services based on costs, not treatments. We will continue to fight to retain the critical doctor-patient relationship.
Making healthcare more accessible and affordable are shared goals that everyone can agree. But creating a solution in which the American people benefit from common-sense proposals that ensures access to healthcare professionals is equally vital. President Obama's healthcare law, while upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as a constitutional tax, has been consistently rejected by the court of public opinion. This month's announced delay further reinforces the perception that Obamacare, as signed into law, is not in the best interest of the country. It is simply too intrusive into the lives of every South Jersey resident and too burdensome to our employers who want to do right by their employees without bankrupting their business. If the President supports a delay on mandating businesses to comply with Obamacare, why doesn't he support a delay for everyday Americans?