With just 21 days left before the individual mandate takes effect, some believe that ObamaCare hasn’t officially started yet. Tell that to the 1000+ people who lost jobs in Michigan this year, thanks to a medical-device tax that kicked in earlier — and put their former employer more than $100 million in the hole with the IRS. But that’s okay, because Michigan can afford to lose more jobs, right? Er … (via Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard):
“There are also new taxes affecting West Michigan industry, in particular, that took effect this year,” says a local reporter. “There’s a new 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers. According to some reports, Kalamazoo based Stryker has laid off more than a thousand people because of it–and owes the federal government upwards of $100 million dollars this year alone. Late last week a Stryker spokesperson told me that Obamacare will cost the company fully 20 percent of its total research and development investments.
“And although it’s no secret that drug makers like Pfizer stand to profit billions because of the increased numbers of insured Americans and the corresponding increased need for medications–they’re being hit with an excise tax as well – on brand name drugs–running in to the tens of billions of dollars.”
The original report at WWMT has more:
“There’s still a lot of people, I think, who are unaware of what all the changes are and what they mean for them,” Buhs said.
One common misconception is that the Affordable Care Act won’t take effect until next year, when in fact, many changes have already happened. Insurance companies can no longer drop you or place a lifetime cap on your coverage.
They also can’t refuse you for pre-existing conditions, and young adults up to 26 may be covered by their parents policies. However, the law has also reduced by half the amount you can save every year in a flexible spending account to cover medical bills–down to $2,500 in 2013, and has increased the income threshold for claiming itemized tax deductions for medical expenses to 10 percent from 7.5.
There are also new taxes affecting West Michigan industry, which took effect this year. There’s a new 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers. According to some reports, Kalamazoo-based Stryker has laid off more than 1,000 people because of it, and owes the federal government upwards of $100 million this year alone.
The Washington Post has more good news. The big, confusing, ambiguous, and contradictory mess known as ObamaCare has nothing but upside for one key constituency — scam artists:
A number of health insurance scams have emerged in recent months as crooks try to cash in on confusion over the health care reform law, and some officials say they are bracing for more in the months ahead.
Most of the schemes target uninsured individuals and employers, many of whom will soon be required to purchase a minimum level of health coverage or pay a tax penalty. In some cases, scammers have set up bogus Web sites intended to look like the law’s new health insurance exchanges, where individuals and small business owners will be allowed to shop for coverage starting on Oct. 1.
Sites using the domains washingtonhealthexchange.com and mdhealthexchange.com have already been reported and taken down.
“These exchanges are designed for both individual consumers and businesses, so by definition, these fake ones are trying to lure both consumers and business owners into a trap,” Jim Quiggle, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud in Washington, D.C., said in an interview.
So far, “scams specifically targeting businesses are in the minority,” Quiggle said, but he says he expects the incidence may pick up once the real health care exchanges open for enrollment next month — particularly because there is still so much confusion and misinformation surrounding the law.
At least some people are finding work.