Statistically speaking, if your representative in Congress is a Democrat, the odds are you know more about the deceptively named Affordable Care Act (ACA) than your Congressman, given how few of them are known to have bothered to read the thing before falling over themselves to vote for it. Be that as it may, since John Hall is making a day-long show Friday morning and afternoon of recounting the new law’s purported benefits to the District’s businessmen (and its citizens on the same topic at a public forum at Cortlandt’s Hudson Valley Hospital Center at 3:00pm),, we’ve compiled five important facts about the Obama/Pelosi health care law for you to review before Rep. Hall arrives.
Boundless Bureaucracy. The ACA creates over 100 new federal agencies, from the “Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee” to the “National Healthcare Workforce Commission” to the “Interagency Task Force to Assess and Improve Access to Health Care in the State of Alaska.” This endless bureaucratic tangle will not lower health care premiums or improve patient care. It will increase the cost to the taxpayer, as each new office will need staff, space, and resources to pursue a broad range of redundant and futile functions. John Hall and Nancy Pelosi might have done us the favor of cobbling together the “Interagency Task Force to Assess and Improve Access to Health Care in the 19th Congressional District of New York,” given that we will be having just as tough a time as Alaskans finding affordable and quality health care using an interagency task force.
Bad for Business. The ACA requires that small businesses of 50 employees or more provide health insurance deemed appropriate by the federal government for their employees, or pay a stiff penalty of $2,000 per employee beyond the first 30. Many small businesses are already struggling to break even during these difficult economic times. The new law will force businesses to reduce wages, cut jobs, or rely more heavily on part-time workers.
Want to Pick Your Own Health Care Plan? Too Bad. The individual mandate in the ACA requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. In 2016, when the provision takes effect, individuals who have not purchased health care coverage that has the “Federal Government Seal of Approval” will have to pay a penalty of $695, or 2.5% of their taxable income.
If You Like Property Taxes, You’ll Love This Plan. Starting in 2014, the ACA requires states to extend Medicaid coverage vastly, but only commits to paying for the expansion for the first two years. From 2017 on, the states will have to assume a percentage of that cost, and the percentage grows, even though the number of people enrolled in Medicaid is bound to grow even faster due to other provisions of the new law. Currently, the State of New York is already facing a $9.2 billion deficit that has paralyzed the state. More unfunded mandates, on top of the already crippling cost of the ACA for our taxpayers, will leave the state no choice but to raise already-intolerable property taxes or to cut vital programs, such as education and law enforcement.
“Universal Health Care”, Except for the “Universal” Part. According to the US Census Bureau, the number of uninsured people without health insurance coverage in 2008 was 45,080,000. (In the State of New York, the number is 2,258,000.) Despite a price tag of $1.5 trillion, the establishment of an endless bureaucracy, and new state and federal taxes, there will still be 23 million Americans without health care coverage in 2019, according the Department of Health and Human Services.
On his health care tour tomorrow, John Hall is bringing along with him Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), who sits on the House committee that drew up their version of the bill. Presumably, that means there will be at least one person at the lectern who knows what the bill says. Just the same, since New Jersey is a fair hike from our District, we recommend to anyone planning to attend the public forum in Cortlandt in the afternoon that you address your questions directly to Rep. Hall.