NPR explains all taxes and mandate costs in ObamaCare story

posted at 10:01 am on May 14, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I skewered NPR for its impossibly sunny look at the movement by large employers to dump workers into ObamaCare. They do much better today with a close-up look at one employer in Cleveland, the catalog retailer AmeriMark, which has 700 employees and a skyrocketing cost problem with health-insurance premiums. None of this will surprise ObamaCare critics, even while the law’s supporters insist that nothing serious is amiss. This profile is worth an extended look, though, because it drives to the heart of who pays for mandates, taxes, and other imposed costs:

AmeriMark, like most businesses, has been coping with rising health insurance premiums for years. This year, the company’s initial estimate from a broker was a 30 percent increase in the price of premiums if they stayed with the same insurance provider. Lyons said they shopped around, chose a new company and changed some of the policy’s benefits – such as increasing the deductibles and co-pays that employees pay as their contribution to their own health coverage. Such changes in plans have become increasingly common nationally in recent years as annual increases in health care premiums have become normal.

For many medium-sized companies, like AmeriMark, the new costs of the Affordable Care Act are an added burden on top of the health insurance premiums that have been rising for years. The largest of the new Obamacare costs, is the health insurance provider tax, or HIT. It’s a tax that the federal government charges insurance companies and the size of the fee depends on how many people the insurer is covering.

Insurers then pass that cost on to employers. And employers, in turn, pass some or all of the cost on to their workers.

It’s a kind of trickle-down sales tax, according to Clare Krusing, a spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting a family member in a nursing home, and overheard a conversation between two of the workers about their health care. Their contributions had jumped significantly, as had the deductibles, not unlike what AmeriMark employees are now experiencing. These two men, who work in the health-care field, concluded the conversation by lamenting, “I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be affordable.”

When government imposes mandates and taxes on businesses and employers, those costs get paid by their consumers and their employees. Businesses always pass costs along to consumers or cut costs within the business. ObamaCare is no different, except now the cost spikes are so significant that it’s put alternatives on the table that had been ignored for years due to corporate inertia. Note well that while NPR says that AmeriMark had been struggling for “years” over rising premiums, the 30% increase came on their existing plans in one year.

Speaking of passing costs, California taxpayers got a rude surprise from Gov. Jerry Brown, a big fan of ObamaCare (via Breitbart):

Enrollment in California’s healthcare program for the poor has soared as the state implements President Obama’s federal overhaul, pleasing advocates who have sought expanded coverage but also presenting new costs for the state.

Nearly one-third of California’s total population — roughly 11.5 million people — will be enrolled in Medi-Cal next year, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

Enrollment is expected to exceed previous estimates by 1.4 million, and administration officials said it would cost the state $1.2 billion more than originally thought.

While unveiling his newest budget proposal on Tuesday morning, Brown said expanded healthcare coverage represented “a huge social commitment on the part of the taxpayers of California.”

“I’m proud we did it,” he said. “But we also have to take into account this thing is growing.”

This will only surprise those who thought the ACA actually meant affordable health care.


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Plus, ObamaCare costs California $1.2 billion more than projected.

Chump change.

Bmore on May 14, 2014 at 10:04 AM

If you like your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare, you don’t get to keep your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare. Seriously, no one actually believed this lie did they?

Johnnyreb on May 14, 2014 at 10:06 AM

These two men, who work in the health-care field, concluded the conversation by lamenting, “I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be affordable.”

No it wasn’t. Progressives love to turn language on its head and say black means white. It’s “control the population through health care” not “affordable health care.”

rbj on May 14, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Obamacare is going to result in the end of employer paid health insurance, even though companies can expense the costs and employees paying on their own can’t. So the costs will be higher for the employee and the government will take more out of the system in the form of higher taxes . . .

In the long run, if individuals are responsible for managing their health care costs, they will search for the best bargains. It is going to be painful for almost everyone, though, for a long time, and we definitely have to get rid of the government monopoly

phillypolitics on May 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Yet another example of how obama and the democrats HATE the middle class and want to see them destroyed.

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2014 at 2:38 PM

HumpBot Salvation on May 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

We are going to win on obamacare!!!!
-dems

cmsinaz on May 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Does the requirement for state exchanges to be self-supporting by 2015 still stand?

As governing boards develop financial plans to meet the requirement that Exchanges be self-supporting by 2015, States should consider the imposition of user fees for those purchasing coverage through the Exchange, similar to the fees
successfully established by other State Exchanges to support their ongoing operations
.

http://www.uhc.com/live/uhc_com/Assets/Documents/Maximizing_Consumer_Benefits.pdf

lineholder on May 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

It’s a kind of trickle-down sales tax, according to Clare Krusing, a spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.

…who knew?…the dems believe in ‘trickle down’….ain’t that something?

KOOLAID2 on May 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Did they take into account all future, illegal, whimsical Presidential derees by The King?

ShainS on May 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

* decrees *

ShainS on May 14, 2014 at 10:19 AM

…who knew?…the dems believe in ‘trickle down’….ain’t that something?

KOOLAID2 on May 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Heh. Good catch.

The only other time I remember them believing in it involved a blue dress or something …

ShainS on May 14, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Some employers are providing pre-paid credit cards to their employees to use toward their increased co-pays and deductibles.

Sure the employees are happy about it now, but I do not think this benefit beyond a year or two…

Feel the O’care pain.

mjbrooks3 on May 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM

If the GOP plays their cards right, they may do in reverse what Obama was trying to do. He wants everyone off of employer insurance so they can be on single-payer government insurance. If the GOP is smart they will get people off of employer insurance and onto free market individual insurance with health savings plans.

That would be real competition.

Tater Salad on May 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Nearly one-third of California’s total population — roughly 11.5 million people — will be enrolled in Medi-Cal next year,

But remember, no illegal aliens will be getting coverage at taxpayer expense, because Obama promised . . . and we all know what his promises are worth.

AZCoyote on May 14, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Nearly one-third of California’s total population — roughly 11.5 million people — will be enrolled in Medi-Cal next year, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

That is horrifying.

LASue on May 14, 2014 at 10:26 AM

These two men, who work in the health-care field, concluded the conversation by lamenting, “I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be affordable FREE.”

Come on now. You know that’s what they were thinking.

Mark Boabaca on May 14, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Thank you, Gov. Perry.
God bless Texas.

pambi on May 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

If you like your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare, you don’t get to keep your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare. Seriously, no one actually believed this lie did they?

Johnnyreb on May 14, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Yep, I have quite a few liberal relatives who still believe that. They keep insisting that once the program gets out of the startup phase – and those ugly conservatives get out of the way – then everyone will be saving money.

climbnjump on May 14, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Not many people talking about what all this real and threatened health care cost escalation due to ACA (Obamacare) is going to do to the economy. People are getting hit by policy cost increases, much higher deductibles, and apprehension that these increases are just the beginning. I expect this to have a major effect on discretionary spending and hence the larger economy.

Viator on May 14, 2014 at 10:34 AM

climbnjump on May 14, 2014 at 10:31 AM

It’s a religion, with blind devotion. The same thing that progs criticize Christians for having. Sheer idiocy and h.y.p.o.r.i.s.y.

avagreen on May 14, 2014 at 10:36 AM

*h.y.p.o.c.r.i.s.y. (sigh)

avagreen on May 14, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Some employers are providing pre-paid credit cards to their employees to use toward their increased co-pays and deductibles.

Sure the employees are happy about it now, but I do not think this benefit beyond a year or two…

Feel the O’care pain.

mjbrooks3 on May 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Or try April 15 when they realize those pre-paid cards are TAXABLE INCOME.

MistyLane on May 14, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Not many people talking about what all this real and threatened health care cost escalation due to ACA (Obamacare) is going to do to the economy.

Viator on May 14, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Well, between a racist NBA owner having his team hijacked by a bunch of black millionaires, a mediocre gay football player getting picked in the NFL draft, and the political stunt that is the House Benghazi investigation…… there just isn’t time to focus on Obamacare.

Seriously, where are your priorities? Obamacare or a couple of gays kissing on ESPN?

Happy Nomad on May 14, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Nearly one-third of California’s total population — roughly 11.5 million people — will be enrolled in Medi-Cal next year, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

That is horrifying.

LASue on May 14, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Horrifying but considering who runs state government hardly unexpected.

The remainder of the state’s income earning population and businesses are expected to pay for it.

If you live in CA, and are able. Get out. Now

hawkeye54 on May 14, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Looks like that Hawaii vacation I was going to take with that $2500 savings due to Obamacare is out the window.

Damn.

TimBuk3 on May 14, 2014 at 10:54 AM

even while the law’s supporters insist that nothing serious is amiss.

Because the employees now have the options of the O-care exchange.

Or evil corporations for dumping employees.

I can’t keep track.

Lance Corvette on May 14, 2014 at 10:55 AM

OT Court rules Title X funds can be denied to Planned Parenthood facilities

lineholder on May 14, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Meh, Warren Buffet can just write ‘em a check for a nice tidy tax deductable sum. Problem solved.

/SNARK

hawkeye54 on May 14, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Horrifying but considering who runs state government hardly unexpected.

The remainder of the state’s income earning population and businesses are expected to pay for it.

If you live in CA, and are able. Get out. Now

hawkeye54 on May 14, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Hey, no problem.

Those Hollywood one-percenters are MORE than willing to pick up the tab for the good of the little people.

I’m sure they are. Aren’t they?

climbnjump on May 14, 2014 at 10:57 AM

…who knew?…the dems believe in ‘trickle down’….ain’t that something?

KOOLAID2 on May 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

We knew?

Bmore on May 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Some employers are providing pre-paid credit cards to their employees

Unless the IRS give this an exemption, it sounds good until the employee realizes they have to pay income taxes on that amount.

RADIOONE on May 14, 2014 at 11:01 AM

If you like your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare, you don’t get to keep your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare. Seriously, no one actually believed this lie did they?

Johnnyreb on May 14, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Of course it will save money! The deductibles are so high, it pays only after an extended hospital stay. I have patients with $6000 deductible and $12,700 for a family. With patients having so little income that they qualify for ‘subsidies’ for the premium, they will still never go to the doctor beyond their ‘free physical’ each year.

txdoc on May 14, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Once all the productive workers leave, and we have 100% of the population on Medi-Cal, utopia will have arrived!

txdoc on May 14, 2014 at 11:08 AM

I’ll just leave these here for when Tlaloc shows up.
 

About 5 million previously uninsured people got coverage via Medicaid and the exchanges.

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/heres-some-stunning-and-unexpected-good-news-about-obamacare

 

At least six million in the new marketplaces, about 2 million of which were previously uninsured, a share that probably increased this month;

At least 4.5 million signed up through Medicaid or SCHIP

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/31/1288598/-Obamacare-brings-coverage-to-at-least-9-5-nbsp-million

rogerb on May 14, 2014 at 11:22 AM

These two men, who work in the health-care field, concluded the conversation by lamenting, “I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be affordable.”

The ACA cost me my job in the health-care field.

ladyingray on May 14, 2014 at 11:22 AM

If you like your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare, you don’t get to keep your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare. Seriously, no one actually believed this lie did they?

Johnnyreb on May 14, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Yep, I have quite a few liberal relatives who still believe that. They keep insisting that once the program gets out of the startup phase – and those ugly conservatives get out of the way – then everyone will be saving money.

climbnjump on May 14, 2014 at 10:31 AM

You know…I understand that Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev et al. blamed their own failings on the Russian Tsars.

Those links are for Generation Y and other trolls (including PBO himself) who learned about the Soviet Union from a lefty professor and think socialism is #theawesome.

I know. I’m just a racist or something. They really need to haul me off to the reeducation camp, pronto.

brentspolemics on May 14, 2014 at 11:26 AM

From Ed’s
 

Enrollment in California’s healthcare program for the poor has soared as the state implements President Obama’s federal overhaul, pleasing advocates who have sought expanded coverage

 
link:
 

Although the federal government picks up the tab for any patients who became eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, the state is still responsible for half the price for people who were previously eligible but hadn’t yet signed up.

 
The exact same thing happened with the overall Medicaid increase nationwide. People were already eligible, so Obamacare had nothing to do with their “access”.
 
Like HuffPo and Mother Jones said, only 5 million previously uninsured people got coverage because of Obamacare nationwide, even when counting Medicaid signups.

rogerb on May 14, 2014 at 11:30 AM

ladyingray on May 14, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Sorry to hear that. Which job function category? Clinical? Ancillary? Admin? Support?

I hope you find another position. Times are tough out there.

lineholder on May 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Wasn’t that new Medicaid program expansion to be free to the States? Yeah. Right.

pat on May 14, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Well, Obamacare is now such a success story in Cali, there’s no reason not to go ahead with that speed train!

rickv404 on May 14, 2014 at 11:59 AM

lineholder on May 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM

I’m an accountant. They cut nearly 200 of us in January – to better position themselves for the upcoming much lower reimbursement rates than they already have in Medicare and Medicaid.

ladyingray on May 14, 2014 at 12:18 PM

A few weeks ago, I was visiting a family member in a nursing home, and overheard a conversation between two of the workers about their health care. Their contributions had jumped significantly, as had the deductibles…

Just like where I work, a large, multinational bank.

sadatoni on May 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM

If you like your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare, you don’t get to keep your $2,500 annual savings from Obamacare. Seriously, no one actually believed this lie did they?

Johnnyreb on May 14, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Those who saw Obama as a liar knew that this just one more in a long list of lies.

But for those gullible enough to take Obama at his word,
Obama was very deliberate in his confidence trick:

THE PRESIDENT: …
One thing, Jon, you shook your head when I said that people would be able to choose the better plan because the notion was, well, people are mandated. Actually, any insurance that you currently have would be grandfathered in so you could keep it. And so you could decide not to get in the exchange the better plan — I could keep my Acme insurance, just a high-deductible catastrophic plan — I would not be required to get the better one. If I chose to get the better one, it would be 14 to 20 percent cheaper than if I were going into the individual market. I just wanted to clarify that issue.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius let the cat out of the bag when she truthfully admitted:

We are bringing Western civilization to its knees by selling private insurance plans on a web site where people pick and choose.”

- Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary

ITguy on May 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM

“I’m proud we did it,” he said. “But we also have to take into account this thing is growing.”

“I’m proud we ran it into the ditch,” he said. “But dang, how’d we get into this ditch?”

Tsar of Earth on May 14, 2014 at 12:51 PM

“We are bringing Western civilization to its knees by selling private insurance plans on a web site where people pick and choose.”

- Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary

ITguy on May 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM

That is the whole point for this admin and its allies. Western Civilization, and our Republic in particular, has had it too good for too long on the backs of the world’s poor. It is long past time for social and economic equality! Retribution, redistribution and payback, mostly from the middle class which is to take us down several pegs as a former world power so we are no more special or acting the bully with other nations. Just another third world nation run by our corrupt ruling political elites and their cronies specifically for their benefit.

hawkeye54 on May 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

I live (for the time being)in CA and hope the idiots who re-elected the braindead and can’t understand economics moonbeam because he has no clue. CA is no longer the “Golden State” but the state way deep in red. We have no surplus, just talk. They could have started desalinization of sea water decades ago, but Demos want to take care of themselves first. We did well under Reagan but then again we got a lot of public school educated (meaning no real education) voting without even knowing who, why, how, etc. I have worked as an election officer, and it is pitiful those who come in who have no clue, have not read the material, don’t know the candidates, and then asked me for whom to vote. Yep, CA really now is a state of fruits, nuts and berries! We allow illegals to go to college free, we give driver licenses to illegals to commit more crime and accidents, we allow sanctuary cities like SF, San Diego and lala land whose citizens seem very willing to support the illegals and crime, we have a very bad education system, and more and more, and now moonbeams “bullet train” to nowhere that he wants as his legacy. Give me a break!

Roselle on May 14, 2014 at 1:09 PM

I’m an accountant. They cut nearly 200 of us in January – to better position themselves for the upcoming much lower reimbursement rates than they already have in Medicare and Medicaid.

ladyingray on May 14, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Trust me, accountants are not the only ones who will be forced to leave their jobs in the health care industry. I believe D.O.C.T.O.R.S., some of them voluntarily, will seek other sources of income outside of their current professions.

NOMOBO on May 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

hawkeye54 on May 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Yes, that is the objective of the Communist Party USA.

I challenge anyone to point out any significant differences between the Democrat Party platform and the Program of the Communist Party USA: “The Road to Socialism USA”.

Obama has long been a “fellow traveler”…

But my journey is part of a larger journey- one shared by all who’ve ever sought to apply the values of their faith to our society. It’s a journey that takes us back to our nation’s founding, when none other than a UCC church inspired the Boston Tea Party and helped bring an Empire to its knees.

- Barack Hussein Obama
June 23, 2007

The 1773 Tea Party was about FREEDOM;
it was never about bringing the British Empire “to its knees”.

Obama seems to view his life journey as being shared by all who’ve ever sought to “bring an Empire to its knees”…

ITguy on May 14, 2014 at 1:35 PM

It’s time for the rest of the states to kick California out of the Union.

I’m sick of paying for their welfare state that largely supports illegal aliens. Over 30% of all welfare recipients live in California. And now we’re all paying for them to pile more people onto the Medicaid rolls.

Let the Hollywood and Silicon valley liberals pay for it all if they want it so badly.

rockmom on May 14, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Obama and Pelosi had a hard time selling this crap to their own party when it was passed, it took Bill Clinton to rally the troops the night before the vote to get this sh*t sandwich passed. Now everyone wants a President Hillary. If all is not lost yet, it may soon be.

DDay on May 14, 2014 at 1:46 PM

“I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be affordable.”

Well STUPID, surprise! SURPRISE! Now just STFU and open your wallet!

As for Moonbeam Brown…the less said the better.

GarandFan on May 14, 2014 at 11:46 PM

A few weeks ago, I was visiting a family member in a nursing home, and overheard a conversation between two of the workers about their health care. Their contributions had jumped significantly, as had the deductibles, not unlike what AmeriMark employees are now experiencing. These two men, who work in the health-care field, concluded the conversation by lamenting, “I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be affordable.”

This conversation is happening in workplaces around the country. People are slowly waking up to the very real fact that the “rich” who are paying more for the ACA are themselves…..

LL

Lady Logician on May 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM