Project 21 New Visions

Christopher Arps

ObamaCare: Academia vs. the Real World


by Christopher Arps (bio)

 

As ObamaCare clears a major hurdle in its implementation and begins enrolling individuals into the new entitlement, it's interesting to see how much has been delayed, dropped or hastily fixed (or has remained broken, in the case of some insurance exchanges) at this late date.

And, with lawmakers continuing to argue over its funding and implementation schedule, it's laughable that ObamaCare proponents are arguing that the fact that ObamaCare is a law makes it sacred and untouchable.

It cannot be repealed, they say. Really? I'm sure glad that my ancestors and others fought and died to repeal other bad laws so that I can enjoy my freedom today!

There's a lot that still concerns me and an apparently overwhelming majority of Americans about the costs of ObamaCare. With the individual mandate beginning, but the mandate on employer-provided coverage put off in a likely political dodge, the other shoe may yet drop.

That's where it seems like ObamaCare apologists are scrambling to fill in the holes.

A recently-released study by the Urban Institute suggests that a delay in the implementation of ObamaCare's employer mandate will allegedly have an insignificant effect on insurance coverage and government spending.

Conveniently, the study came out right on the heels of the Obama Administration's controversial decision to delay the employer mandate until after next year's mid-term elections.

I found it quite curious that the impact of government spending was prominently featured in the study. As National Journal reported about the Institute's findings:

The employer-mandate delay would also have a limited impact on government spending, resulting in only a one percent decrease in premiums and subsidies paid through exchanges, mirroring the one percent decrease in exchange-based insurance coverage. The only significant difference would be the loss of revenue from employer penalties, which would total about $3.7 billion.

Further research into the Urban Institute reveals clues as to why government spending likely has such an intense focus in the study.

The Urban Institute was established in 1968 by the Johnson Administration to study and make recommendations about the nation's metropolitan problems. In 2011, federal payments provided 58 percent of the Institute's operating funds while foundations and private donations pay for another 35 percent and state and local governments provide the remaining seven percent.

The Urban Institute claims to be non-partisan. I'll take their word on good faith.

But the Urban Institute's study sharply contrasts with a recent sobering survey released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber:

  • Small businesses expect the [employer mandate] requirement to negatively impact their employees.

  • Twenty-seven percent say they will cut hours to reduce full time employees, 24 percent will reduce hiring, and 23 percent plan to replace full time employees with part-time workers to avoid triggering the mandate.

  • Nearly one-in-four employers say the health care bill is their biggest obstacle to hiring more employees.

Who is right? It seem only time will tell at this point.

But, if I had to place my bet, I would side with the hard-charging entrepreneurs who are the backbone of our economy over scholars studying the delay of the employer mandate in their air-conditioned cubicles.

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Christopher Arps is member of the Project 21 black leadership network and a co-founder of Move-On-Up.org. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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