This is sick. No, it's sickening. Obamacare.
This is sick. No, it's sickening.
The federal government is now hiring “navigators” to instruct Americans how to navigate those so-far-fictional “Health Exchanges.”
No doubt many will be recent college grads who can't find jobs. And are they kidding: They'll be advising Americans on a law and system that no one understands to begin with? And to top things off, everyone will be monitored by the trustworthy IRS. Really?
It gets more absurd: Federal leaders are now saying to qualify for a federal health-insurance subsidy you will not have to verify your income when you enroll. It will be an honor system.
You can picture the Medicare fraudsters in South Florida. They can't wait.Now there's even more free money to scam!
In all of their decades as B-to-B health-plan advisers, Joe Part, founder and CEO of Palm Harbor-based Alltrust Insurance, and Rich Pierro, managing partner of Bradenton-based Kitchner & Pierro, have never, ever seen anything like this. “Not even close,” Pierro says.
They wouldn't say it this way, but we will: Never, ever have they seen anything so absolutely, unequivocally awful in their professional lives.
“Confusion and frustration,” says Part. “If there's anything business owners don't want, it's confusion and frustration. It's uncertainty and ever changing — everything a business owner does not want to deal with.”
Twenty years ago, when Part visited clients to renew their annual health plans, he met with the heads of companies' payroll departments. Ten years ago, he met with the HR directors. Seven years ago, he met with the CFOs. Today, at every meeting, he's sitting with the CFOs and CEOs.
Ditto Pierro: “They're nervous and scared about what's going to happen.”
It's chaos. And it's getting worse.
Pierro tells of a restaurant client who employs 350 people, 250 full-time equivalents. The owner figured if he didn't offer health insurance, he would end up paying a $500,000 fine. It would shut him down.
When Obamacare first passed, Part says, “we all had the opinion this law wouldn't have legs. Then we thought the Supreme Court would overturn it. Then it was Obama wouldn't win re-election. All of a sudden, there's a lot more focus on what does this all mean? Rates are going up 80% one day and down the next. Employers have hit the pause button again.”
What's galling is the Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate — and especially Obama — have no clue what uncertainty does to the economy. It freezes growth and new initiatives.
The chief operating officer of a Gulf Coast group of 30 internal-medicine physicians told us horror stories of the effects of one regulation after another coming down from Washington. Take Medicare. Every year, physicians sit on edge wondering how much the federal government is going to cut Medicare reimbursements.
Imagine, the COO says, trying to plan your business' annual staffing and budget in that environment. Or going to your bank for equipment financing. Few banks will say yes when they don't know whether the borrower's income is going to be cut by 2% or 24%. That is real.
Here's another Obama nightmare for doctors: If a health-exchange enrollee does not pay his health-insurance premium, the insurer still must pay the physician for the first 30 days. But between 30 and 90 days, the physician must try to collect from the patient who hasn't paid his insurance premium. Here's the catch: There is no mechanism in the law to allow physicians to check if a patient's premium has been paid when he shows up at the doctor's office with an insurance card. You can predict what's going to happen.
Other effects: Obamacare is creating jobs all right, but the wrong kind. The physician-group COO told us his firm has one employee dedicated to regulatory compliance. Part says he hired a compliance manager more than a year ago. The job is to educate Alltrust's employees and customers on the details of Obamacare and produce models to help customers predict their costs.
You can see where this disaster is headed. Just as every business must have a trusted accountant and lawyer to “navigate” the federal tax codes, every business will soon face the next inevitability: hiring “compliance” staffers and departments to comply with Obamacare. Health care is now as bad as, if not worse than, banking, an industry that is suffocating from government regulation.
These are the wrong kinds of jobs to be created. They're non-producing; they do not create wealth. They're jobs that suck productive capital out of the economy to feed the regulatory and legislative leeches in Washington, D.C.
None of this is going to save a nickel. Obama and Democrat lawmakers missed an obvious fix: Give individuals the same tax deduction on health care costs as businesses get. There isn't a rational business owner in America who wants to manage his employees' health insurance. They don't manage their employees' car insurance or 401(k)s. Why health insurance?
Confusion and frustration. Part is correct. But he is being diplomatic.
It's far worse than that.
It's beyond comprehension how any lawmaker in the U.S. Senate or House can believe Obamacare is good for America. Defund it.
It makes you sick to your stomach.