Again and again, critics and detractors of our Obamacare fail to read the fine print. Our latest controversy deals with the Obama administration's recent announcement of its continued intent to pursue an employer mandate.
Business groups complain that this policy is another example of executive overreach, another attempt to punish corporations, another piece of our health care too muddled to achieve any good. Let's break this down, shall we?
The Obama administration has already announced that it is still sticking to the timeline it clearly set out earlier this year. Just in case any of you, especially Obamacare critics, need a refresher:
An administration official said the White House is sticking to the timeline announced earlier this year. Companies with 50 to 99 employees will have another year — until 2016 — to start the coverage. Companies with 100 or more employees do have to comply next year, although they have two years to phase up so that they are covering 95 percent of their workers. Smaller businesses are exempt.Okay, so not only are the small businesses that conservatives care SO much about exempt from the mandate, other companies have a generally large timeframe. But surely the holistic costs must be unbearable right? No. The article furthers:
The administration has estimated that the mandate will only apply to about 4 percent of employers. Most larger firms already offer health benefits.That's right. This economically apocalyptic mandate is going to be harming a whopping 4% of the employed population? But surely, the costs to those individuals must be insurmountable right? Dead wrong again. The Hill explains:
People who don’t buy health insurance plans that meet the ACA’s minimum standards are fined 1 percent of their annual household income if they make more than $19,650. However if they make less, they are fined a flat rate of $95 annually or are not fined if they make less than $10,150.So that's right. At best, the sweeping harms of the Obamacare mandate is set to affect 1% of the income of 4% of the employee population. Even if this economic harm still seems too much for you, let's take a stroll over to the opposing side and look at the economic argument in favor of Obamacare. Romney's Massachusetts (oh the irony) and the academic consensus make it very clear: Obamacare reduces premiums and costs for society by not only getting rid of the free rider problem, but also by countering adverse selection, making sure that our pool of insured is for the most part healthy. The Center for American Progress elaborates:
Moreover, estimates indicate that the individual mandate will work as intended toBut let's end off with the most important qualification of this entry. To this day, the US remains the only Western country without a national healthcare system. Even if I'm completely wrong about the economics and it turns out that Obamacare is some prophet of economic doom, we cannot let ourselves get so lost in the money that we let ourselves play a game of lives and endanger both individuals and society. Frankly, I don't want to deal with anyone who is willing to.
counter adverse selection. The CBO concluded that the mandate will “encourage a
broad range of people to take up coverage in the exchanges.” As a result, the CBO
estimates that the influx of healthier enrollees will reduce average premiums by up to 10 percent in the direct-purchase market. Conversely, eliminating the mandate
would result in adverse selection, increasing premiums by up to 20 percent in the