On Businesses and the ACA

Embed from Getty Images

I appreciate the basic premises of the Affordable Care Act: the mandate for individual coverage and an insurance company inability to deny coverage to individuals with a pre-existing condition. Therefore, I look for these two points in any amendment or replacement.

There’s no question about the following:

  • Rising cost of health care insurance to all – including companies and individuals
  • Given a global economy, the company’s expense burden of healthcare insurance for employees is a burden many non-US competitors may not incur
  • The ACA requires employers (based on the number of employees) to provide healthcare insurance to employees
  • Over the past 10+ years, US employees have accepted an increasing cost burden of healthcare insurance

To me, the ACA’s employer mandate is an example of an unnecessary mandate and government overreach. Then again, given the Democratic majority that passed this law, I see it as another example of Democrats trying to do too much.

I offer a suggestion, and one that employees won’t like – but businesses would love. The Republicans won’t like it either because they couldn’t accept the two key points that I stated at the beginning. It’s also doubtful that Democrats would embrace the idea because it would amend what they created and they are less likely to pass the burden to individuals. In other words, it’s time to look outside the box.

Note: For the sake of this post, employees refers to full-time employees, which I define as those working 35 hours per week or more.

  1. Congress passes legislation to remove the employer mandate, thus companies have no obligation to provide healthcare insurance to employees.
  2. Therefore, given the ACA’s individual mandate, it is each individual’s responsibility to get healthcare insurance.
  3. In collective bargaining situations, the union and employer may negotiate coverage. If so, the burden of the negotiated coverage on the company and the employee is only with the employees covered by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) (which is existing labor law).
  4. Outside of theCBA, employers would be
    1. under no obligation to provide healthcare insurance or Health Saving Account (HSA) benefits
    2. If the company provides any benefit of healthcare insurance or HSA to any employee, all employees not covered by the CBA receive the same package without exception. (That is, if the CEO gets something special, the same goes to all employees.)
    3. If the company decides to provide a fixed amount to all employees to go toward the cost of the employee’s healthcare benefits, that’s OK as long as the amount is the same for all.
  5. If a person chooses not to purchase healthcare insurance, they are fined at a price that is higher than the cost of insurance.
  6. Determining how to fund a tax credit for individual purchases would be a noble cause.

Yes, this would level the playing field for US companies in the global marketplace – and smart companies would boost salaries. On the other hand, the action amplifies another problem – the people of the US would be carrying a burden that other citizens in primary markets throughout the world don’t have – thus, a dilemma remains.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 147

On Politics
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proclaims to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and then, instead of replacing it, just return to the way it was. Meanwhile, besides calling for the repeal, Gov. Romney continues say as little as possible what would replace ACA.

Let me get this straight. Gov. Romney says he agrees with the minority court opinion that says the penalty is a penalty, thus not a tax, but says that since the majority opinion declared it a tax, it must be a tax. In the words of Artie Johnson, “Very interesting.” Meanwhile, this editorial from the conservative Wall Street Journal takes Gov. Romney to task on his handling of the tax/penalty issue. There, I couldn’t resist this clip.

With the flow of big dollars going into the campaigns, how much insurance would that buy for the uninsured? Hmmm … my guess is enough to minimize government involvement!

Some pundits are using the current heat wave across much of the U.S. to promote global warming. Meanwhile, I shake my head, and will post soon to explain.

On Headlines from The Onion

  • Congress Raises Livestock Minimum Wage
  • Man Being Dragged from Bus Leaves Hilarious Phone Message
  • Burger King Unveils New Trudge-Through Window
  • Local Man Shot with Girly Pistol
  • New Study Shows 85% of Americans Don’t Know All the Dance Moves to National Anthem
  • String of Poorly Received Performances Force Sock Puppet to Return to Foot

Here’s a special treat from The Onionclick to hear a (short, about a minute) radio news report on Extra, “Extra Large Man Finds a T-Shirt”

Interesting Reads
A conservative columnist explains the Roberts decision
Columnist David Brooks about the Republicans health care plan
In pursuit of the presidential pantheon
A timely column about marches (the musical kind that I love)
An infographic regarding scientists, the public, and religion
Summer cocktails
The Medication Generation
DNA and a parrot’s ability to parrot

On Potpourri
Hope you had a chance to enjoy the weekday holiday. We went to the annual neighborhood gathering, a 20+ year tradition that actually comes with the house when it is sold. Yep, whenever new owner arrive, when I meet them I inform them that this is the Fourth of July house. I’m thinking that 4 of the 5 new owners have bought in what the original owners started.

The World Choir Games have started with Cincinnati being the first American city to host the event. About 15,000 singers from 64 countries will be in town over the next two weeks, and we hope to take in some of the events.

Just as doubt was creeping in, this week I roared at golf league.

A reminder to everyone: Check your Spam folder on your dashboard to see if comments by regular visitors are unexpectedly going there.

Sorry to say, no classic cartoon post this weekend.

Given the holiday, I’m in the mood for a good march. Have a safe weekend everyone. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 145

On Politics
“The private sector is doing fine.” President Obama, that was a poor, poor, poor downright pathetic choice of words.

Mr. Romney’s responded to the above of saying President Obama “is out of touch”. So here we are today, unemployment is still high, yet corporate profits have returned to pre-crash levels. Mr. Romney, it’s reality check time!

If Ron Paul said he has a difficult time differentiating Republicans and Democrats, I ask this question: Then why are you a Republican?

Very soon, the U.S. Supreme Court will announce its decision regarding health care. This USA Today article provides some possible outcomes.  Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal provides a look at the potential Republican fallout of a ruling.

Regarding the upcoming decision, given this court is an activist court, I only see it going in one direction with the question being how far.

On Headlines from The Onion
Eco-Conscious Marketing Firm Developing Alternative Source of Synergy
U.S. Improves Infrastructure with Transnational Power Strip
Group of Hunky Cardinals Appeals to Pope to Relax Celibacy Requirement
Weather Channel Opens Las Vegas Casino
Breaking Story So New, Reporter has No Information
Nation’s Cotton Candy Crop Ravaged by Carnival Weevils
Teen who Cleaned-up Party Before Parents’ Arrival Totally Forgot about Overdosed Kid on Dining Table

Interesting Reads
Ruth Marcus on two faces of Republicans
E-readers in Africa
Tax Exceptions and religious organizations
Some berry recipes for dinner
The wine blends from Paso Robles
Fossilized Turtle Sex

On Potpourri
Lately, my stats resemble a downward staircase. 😦 … which is pathetic for someone approaching 1,000 posts in almost four years.

Sorry some of you didn’t see me as much this week. Simply said, I’ve got an important presentation to lead very soon.

This weekend we host our dinner group for a night of Scarborough Fare: parsley (appetizer), sage (soup/salad), rosemary (entrée), and thyme (dessert). Because we host, we have the entrée, so it will be interesting to see what the others bring.

Cincinnati is in final preparation for being the first U.S. city to host the World Choir Games, July4-14.

A classic cartoon post will go up for your Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, here’s a classic quirky musical video to send you into the weekend. Have a safe weekend everyone. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 132

On Politics
Outside of the verbal gaffs, the GOP primary is becoming a snore.

Rick Santorum needs to move on to something else, but not as a mathematics teacher.

Newt Gingrich is right – Government needs new ideas. Sorry Newt – but all aren’t centered in one party/ideology. As a matter of fact, most may be outside of either party.

Oral arguments of some aspects of the US healthcare law starting next week at the US Supreme Court. SCOTUS Blog is a wonderful resources for this topic, especially posts by Lyle Denniston, who already has lately published 3 posts on this topic. I also provide a link to SCOTUS Blog in the sidebar > Resources.

On Headlines from The Onion
Long Lost Jules Verne Story Found: The Camera Phone
Study Finds Newborn Infants Can Tell if Parents are Losers
Atheists Unbless Florida Road
Greenpeace Releases Rescued Dolphins into Forest
Area Woman Loses Respect Earned Last St. Patrick’s Day
Area High School Carrying On Without 2011 Seniors

Interesting Reads
About Military Budgets
Bernacke vs. the Gold Standard
Darth Vader and Project Management
2016 Presidential Race
This Article Generating Thousands of Dollars in Ad Revenue Simply by Mentioning new iPad 

On March Madness
Go ABK … Anybody But Kentucky!

After clawing their way back into the game, my Bearcats lost to a better Ohio State team. Nonetheless, a tip of the cap to the team.

The NCAA says that graduation rates are important. BTW, did you hear about the pearl driver in Yuma, Arizona?

On Potpourri
The teaching profession has always been difficult, yet it is insanely demanding in today’s world. Here’s an interesting read: Confessions from a Bad Teacher.

See this slide show about visiting Tallinin, Estonia.

I will have a post this weekend.

Because I started the week with a Buddy Miles tune, here is another one (Dreams) from the same LP (Them Changes) to send us into the weekend. Have a good weekend everyone, and in the words of Garrison Keillor; Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.