The Week Just Past: Obamacare Fairness for Families
"Obamacare was back in the spotlight this week as the House voted on legislation that will -- as a matter of basic fairness -- delay the law's mandate on families and individuals, as President Obama has done for businesses.
"The House passed two bills on Wednesday. The first bill actually gave the Administration the power to suspend the employer mandate. But while this measure provides employers with some temporary reprieve from one onerous provision of the health care law, it provides no real relief. Even with this delay, small businesses and families will not get what they were promised -- affordable, accessible health care.
"Inexplicably, the Obama Administration thinks only businesses should be exempt from the pain inflicted by Obamacare. Many people are asking "How is that fair?'
"Families and individuals are already struggling in this economy. They are paying more for food and to fill up their gas tank. We all know that wages are not keeping up with the ever-increasing costs of everyday life. Don't these hardworking Americans deserve the same relief the Administration is giving to the business community?
"That is why the House also passed the Fairness for American Families Act, which will delay the so-called individual mandate -- the legal requirement that individuals carry health coverage or face fines.
"Combined, the two bills we approved this week will ensure that fairness is applied to employers and employees as well as families and individuals.
"The Obama Administration says that "they are listening,' to the American people. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said, "Obamacare has been wonderful!" These claims are remarkably out of touch with reality.
"Back home, I hear first hand from my constituents about the concerns with the law. They ask me:
"Why are my premiums rising?"
"How can I expand my business and hire with all these new mandates, regulations and red tape?"
"Why am I losing the insurance I have had for years?
"The Administration's year-long "time out' from the law for business only does not change the fact that Obamacare is unworkable.
"The American people deserve real reforms that actually make health care affordable and available. We should scrap this law, and get back to commonsense, step-by-step reforms aimed at reducing health care costs, improving choices, reforming liability laws to put the needs of patients first, and ensuring there are enough doctors to care for American families. We can accomplish these goals by empowering patients and doctors!"
The Obamacare Employer Mandate: Facts You Need to Know
Obamacare's employer mandate requires that all businesses with more than 50 employees provide employer-sponsored insurance by 2014. Businesses not in compliance will face a $2,000 penalty for each employee beyond the 30th they hire in addition to the salary and benefits they must provide to their employees. As a result, the employer mandate serves as a disincentive for businesses to hire 50 or more employees, limiting economic growth and job creation. Employers could also pay a $3,000 penalty for each non-enrolled employee who is required to provide more than 9.5% of their W-2 wages to a company sponsored plan. Employers must also pay an initial fee of $65 per person with insurance.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the employer mandate will cost businesses $140 billion in tax penalties from 2014 until 2023. This does not include the compliance costs businesses will be forced to pay.
The CBO estimates that Obamacare will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by one-half of 1 percent due to the increased regulatory burden placed on businesses. This accounts for approximately 800,000 jobs.
The employer mandate will result in a significant number of employers dropping employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) in favor of having their employees purchase health insurance on Obamacare exchanges. A 2011 McKinsey & Company report found that 30 percent of companies will discontinue offering ESI, and up to 60 percent of companies will pursue an alternative to ESI. Obamacare will ultimately result in greater economic losses for individuals as a result of the employer mandate.
Recommended Reading: Jed Graham writing in Investor's Business Daily says for many employers, and their employees, the delay of the Obamacare employers mandate came too late. Read "ObamaCare Mandate Delay: Employers Keep Job Cuts" here.
Educating Children: Federal Support, Not Federal Control
There is little debate that some schools are either failing or falling short in their educational preparation of America's young people. For too long, states and school districts have been inundated with federal intervention and bureaucratic red tape that has done little to improve student performance.
This week, the House approved legislation designed to end the federal government's overreach in our nation's classrooms and empower local communities to fix our education system.
H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, seeks to eliminate wasteful and duplicative federal programs and givestates and local school districts the freedom to direct federal resources to the programs that best serve their students. And, instead of focusing on a teacher's credentials, states and districts should be able to identify, recruit, and retain the teachers who have the most talent and desire for improving student achievement.
"There is no more important task for our communities than to educate our youth. Local schools need federal support, not federal micro-management," Rodney said. "If it meets its promise, the Student Success Act will restore local control, reduce the federal footprint in the nation's classrooms, support more effective teachers, and empower parents."
Recommended Reading: Brent Scowcroft and Eric Melby writing in the Wednesday Washington Post, "Egypt Needs Us Now More than Ever."
Rodney is Friend of the National Parks
Rodney was honored as a "Friend of the National Parks" by the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) for his contribution to protecting and enhancing America's national parks. The award was presented to representatives currently serving in the 113th Congress for their support of legislation during the 112th Congress that upheld the standards and integrity of the National Park System.
"We are grateful that our members of Congress have demonstrated a solid commitment to preserving America's national parks," said NPCA Acting President Theresa Pierno.
NPCA's "Friend of the National Parks Award" was established in 1999 to track and publicize congressional members' votes on significant park issues. This year, NPCA compiled votes for seven national park-related bills in the House.
"Our National Parks are a gift to America, making certain that our history, heritage and natural splendor are preserved for future generations," Rodney said. "It is very important that Congress ensures that both our policy and our funding support them."
The nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been a leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System since 1909. NPCA, its 800,000 members and supporters, and many partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation's natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren.
Salutes: Sandy Relief Work, Restocking Jefferson's Food Pantry
Thank you to the Presbyterian Church in Morristown for their regular "Sandy Relief Work Trips" to help residents rebuild primary homes in Union Beach, New Jersey.
Kudos to Jefferson Township Girl Scout Haley James who is working to re-stock the Jefferson Food Pantry after its shelves were depleted. Mayor Russ Felter has declared July, "Jefferson Township Food Pantry Awareness Month."
Read more about Haley's efforts here.
Recommended Reading: Rep. Adam Kinsinger (IL), writing in the Thursday edition of The Hill, "The Zero Option in Afghanistan is No Option."