CBO and small biz: Yeah, about keeping your health care plan if you like it

posted at 2:01 pm on February 7, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

This week the Congressional Budget Office put to rest for good the idea that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it:

“In 2022, by CBO and JCT’s estimate, 7 million fewer people will have employment-based health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” the CBO announced in its new budget outlook released on Tuesday. This is up from an estimate of 4 million last August, mostly reflecting the effects of tax changes.

In a July 2009 speech to the American Medical Association, Obama declared, “no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.

Many of us saw this coming, but were told we were spreading myths by drawing logical conclusions about economic incentives, moral hazard, and possible unintended consequences. Now, of course, the White House claims they just meant no one in the federal government would actually forcefully take your health care away, never mind that they set up a situation in which losing your health care would become inevitable. Even that’s not true, though, as the Affordable Care Act does actively prohibit certain affordable health insurance options like mini-med plans and high-deductible catastrophic plans. “Take away” and “regulate out of existence” are functionally the same thing.

But let’s learn a bit about how these unintended consequences are coming to fruition. Remember, small businesses under 50 employees don’t have to offer health insurance under the new law, but many of them currently do. One would think that’s a a good thing we’d want to encourage if our goal is to increase the number of people in the country with health care coverage. And yet, as Obamacare’s mandates require plans that cover a long list of “Essential Health Benefits,” the costs for providing health insurance go up dramatically, as people are starting to notice. Among those who can least afford such increases are small business people.

In Florida, they want to do right by their employees and maintain health care benefits as a recruitment tool for good talent, but the choices are tough:

Companies now offering health insurance to a workforce of 50 or fewer employees can choose not to offer plans in 2014, when many provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take effect. If they don’t, workers may be able to buy coverage from a public insurance marketplace.

That decision is technical and riddled with potential penalties and taxes, local health care and insurance experts said Wednesday at a panel discussion for local human resource and business leaders.

Small-business owners worry how the new law will increase the amount they pay for plans they now offer, said John Urbanek, a senior sales and marketing vice president for the Florida Blue insurance carrier.

Some may choose not to hire any more workers to remain below the 50-employee mark. Many will discover that providing the health coverage they’ve been offered will not be affordable in the future. Right now, all over the nation, insurance actuaries are reporting Obamacare’s mandates to insurance companies, who are running to insurance commissions to request the rate increases they’ll need to absorb these new costs.

In the event that these small companies don’t provide insurance, employees are supposed to be able to buy insurance through a public “exchange,” which is supposed to operate like a Travelocity for insurance. The federal government has to build this exchange website and database to work for at least 25 states, and states going it on their own must be ready with their own versions by January 2014 (open enrollment is actually supposed to begin October 2013). Many think this is, frankly, impossible. What happens if those dumped by the current employee plans Obama promised they wouldn’t lose have no exchange to go into on Jan. 1, 2014?

Front-page photo courtesy of takacsi75 on Flickr Creative Commons.


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So the Dear Liar lied AGAIN….

Galt2009 on February 7, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Keeper read on Obama’care’

Schadenfreude on February 7, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Hey, wasn’t Obamacare supposed to be Free along with a lifetime supply of pixie dust and Unicorn feed?

Galt2009 on February 7, 2013 at 2:05 PM

What happens if those dumped by the current employee plans Obama promised they wouldn’t lose have no exchange to go into on Jan. 1, 2014?

US version of the British NHS…as Obama and Pelosi/Reid planned all along. Only fools still believe that Roberts is not a leftie.

Schadenfreude on February 7, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Huuuuge waste of your taxdollars

Schadenfreude on February 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM

The REAL cost of free stuff.

Oil Can on February 7, 2013 at 2:13 PM

At some point, doesn’t all of the havoc caused by this monstrosity become the basis for additional challenges to the law?

trigon on February 7, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Anyone who thinks political solutions will fix this and our country are delusional. There will eventually be a civil war.

bgibbs1000 on February 7, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Yeah?

I tell you something else, kind of in the same vein as the lies spread by Barack O’Traitor about his O’Traitorcare…

He isn’t finished with us by a long shot.

If he is allowed to do what he wants to do we will not have a Constitution, nor our rights, nor our guns, nor our free enterprise system of economics.

We will be the new incarnation of the Soviet Union.

turfmann on February 7, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Don’t worry the President has a plan for when people start losing their insurance in 2014 and their is no exchange. The President’s plan will be to demagogue the Insurance Industry and the Republicans with a willingly complicit Media, of course.

Its worked the last four years, why would he change.

Shtetl G on February 7, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Details, details. Barky could not be bothered.

Philly on February 7, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Best piece of never-read legislation evah!!

Rufus on February 7, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Why does the government have to build “exchanges”? They already exist. Try eHealth.com

And where is the constitutional authority to do the following?

Affordable Care Act does actively prohibit certain affordable health insurance options like mini-med plans and high-deductible catastrophic plans

.

How can the federal government dictate what products any company can offer? This is more offensive to me than the individual mandate.

Charlemagne on February 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Wealth redistribution. It’s all about getting 10% of the country to pay for the health care of the other 90%.

Obama’s a thief. And too many Americans are his accomplice.

BuckeyeSam on February 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

It’s always been about control…concern about healthcare quality or availability is wayyyyyyyyy down the list.

search4truth on February 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.

Oh, Did I say that? Let be be perfectly clear. What I meant to say was if I like your doctor, health care plan, etc. you can keep it.

Sorry for the confusion. The teleprompter data entry person has been droned. Sebelius, carry on.

Lily on February 7, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Please report to carousel.

Pork-Chop on February 7, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Troll free thread?

CurtZHP on February 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

This week the Congressional Budget Office put to rest for good the idea that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it

…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA! HA!

In a July 2009 speech to the American Medical Association, Obama declared, “no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.

…now!…no matter what sex you are!…You’re all going to have PERIODS !

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Troll free thread?

CurtZHP on February 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Oh yeah, almost forgot the Ol’ standby:

Hey, Where are all the trolls acknowledging Obama’s ownership of this debacle?

Galt2009 on February 7, 2013 at 2:40 PM

What happens if those dumped by the current employee plans Obama promised they wouldn’t lose have no exchange to go into on Jan. 1, 2014?

Who cares free healthcare!! Suck it Mittches! CONSTITUTIONAL!!1!
-Democrats.

Gatsu on February 7, 2013 at 2:54 PM

…it’s a TAX!

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 3:01 PM

And with all this, the spineless Republicans in Congress stillcan’t work up the nerve to defund Obamacare.

tngmv on February 7, 2013 at 3:06 PM

See why the big push to ban guns? They know a lot of people are going to go postal when Obamacare is fully implemented.

SPCOlympics on February 7, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Lookie, lookie here.

Schadenfreude on February 7, 2013 at 3:09 PM

No health care on Saturdays, we can’t afford it.

birdwatcher on February 7, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Global warming is responsible for the rise of health care costs.

birdwatcher on February 7, 2013 at 3:12 PM

And here in CT, the governor is cutting payments to hospital for treating under and un-insured patients by a significant amount, while also cutting Medicaid eligibility. So while we’re supposed to be cutting down the number of patients using the ED/ER for their primary/only care, we’re ensuring that more and more have that as their only option, and we’re going to reimburse the organziations providing that care less than we do now at the same time.

I should point out that the governor and state house doing this are all democrats. And here I thought that it was the Republicans who wanted poor people to die without any medical care. /sarc

LibraryGryffon on February 7, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Please report to carousel.

Pork-Chop on February 7, 2013 at 2:31 PM

There’s no sanctuary.

LoganSix on February 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM

May the rank and file democrats languish severely under this monster.

tom daschle concerned on February 7, 2013 at 3:28 PM

How can the federal government dictate what products any company can offer? This is more offensive to me than the individual mandate.
Charlemagne on February 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Oh, you can buy whatever coverage you desire. It’s just that if you don’t pay for a gold-plated cadillac Obamacare plan you will have to pay the additional penalty tax.

tommyboy on February 7, 2013 at 3:34 PM

ObamaCare, a slow motion wreck, one wheel coming off at a time.

Still no comment from Nancy-poo about her signature legislation?

GarandFan on February 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan.

vs.

the White House claims they just meant no one in the federal government would actually forcefully take your health care away

Oh sure, sounds the same to me, I mean it’s not like the President lied or anything.

Please tell me the press corp will call him on this (yes, I just asked to be lied to)

JusDreamin on February 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM

And here I thought that it was the Republicans who wanted poor people to die without any medical care. /sarc

LibraryGryffon on February 7, 2013 at 3:18 PM

But, you were right! Republicans *do* want poor people to die without medical care. Obama wants them to die with medical care!

GWB on February 7, 2013 at 3:47 PM

But, you were right! Republicans *do* want poor people to die without medical care. GWB on February 7, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Obama wants them to die with medical care…unless the Death Panel says otherwise. /s?

krome on February 7, 2013 at 4:26 PM

This has bothered me since before any of this ever passed Congress. Ryan et al were telling them over and over again all the ways this plan was flawed and would not do the things that were promised. The response was accusations of racism.

Every new day for the last four years, all we have heard is news story after news story demonstrating that every criticism leveled against the law has been correct, and every promise made by it has been false. And still they defend this thing staunchly. It frustrates me to no end.

The Schaef on February 7, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Last year my company had 3 options for health insurance plans. This year they got rid of one, so then we only had 2 options. Except 1 of those 2 options is being phased out in 2 years. So, really, we only have one option.

I liked my plan. I do not get to keep it.

ConDem on February 7, 2013 at 6:09 PM