With all of this talk about ObamaCare and its rules going into effect now and at some point in 2014, there is one critical question that many people still seem to be missing. How is the government going to pay for all of this? After all, no one can deny that ObamaCare is a huge initiative that’s incredibly expensive. Heck, just putting together the online exchange cost millions of dollars of taxpayer money…and we are all familiar with just how well that worked out. The bad news is that there are more new taxes, mandates, and fees coming our way in 2014 and beyond.
There are 18 specific tax hikes, mandates, and penalties within the program. The estimate is they will raise around $771 billion in new revenue from 2013 through 2022. Three of these tax hikes and mandates will take effect this year with total tax revenue estimated at $32 billion for 2014. This includes the wildly unpopular individual and employer mandates. By the way, if you think the penalty tax for people who do not sign up for an insurance plan is a simple $95, think again. It is actually $95 or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater. The more you make, the higher the penalty.
Many businesses have already made financial decisions based on the employer mandate even though it was delayed by decree of King Obama until 2015. Businesses are reducing the hours employees work each week to avoid having to provide mandatory health insurance.
Going into effect this year is a new annual fee on health insurance plans (called the health insurer tax) which is based on each company’s share of the market. This is estimated to raise $101.7 billion from 2014 to 2023, with $8 billion of that coming in 2014. Some actuarial analyses of this tax show that it will increase premiums by more than 2 percent, with a greater impact on consumers in later years.
Not included in the list of those 18 taxes is a special temporary fee that’s intended to spread the cost of covering people using the government exchange. This fee is $63 for every covered person in 2014 and will likely result in more hikes in premiums.
Despite the promises Obama made to seniors, funds diverted from Medicare will instead go to finance ObamaCare. There are a number of across the board Medicare spending cuts that total $41 billion in 2014 and more than $700 billion by 2022. This will lead to compromises in access to care for seniors. Medicare Trustees project that 15 percent of all hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and home health agencies will become unprofitable within five years.
We are already starting to see impacts from this. UnitedHealth, the largest provider of Medicare Advantage plans in the country, recently announced that thousands of doctors would be dropped from their networks because of the lower reimbursement payments paid to doctors by ObamaCare. Another negative impact that’s occurring now are doctors and other healthcare providers who have stopped taking Medicare patients, have switched to high cost concierge services, or are retiring from the medical field altogether.
What do YOU think? Are these ObamaCare taxes and fees sustainable? Will they outrage the public? Will they lead to higher premiums and costs? How might they affect the quality of care?
Source: By Joseph R. Carducci, Down Trend