Obamacare has more bad news in store for you
By Boston Herald (MA) January 4, 2014WASHINGTON -- Forget Obamacare website woes and disappointing early enrollment figures. Those problems are so 2013.The New Year will bring a set of new and far more potentially perilous obstacles for President Obama's signature health care law. These looming problems could not only doom the troubled law if no solution is found, but they also will hover over 2014 midterm candidates as Democrats scramble to hold onto their Senate majority amid polls that show Obamacare to be their biggest problem.
The surprise tax hit.
Most people know that the health care law provides subsidies for qualifying individuals to help offset the costs of signing up for health care coverage. Most people, however, are unaware that those subsidies can come back to bite the recipients if they have one of several major life events during 2014, such as a marriage, a new job or a job promotion. Come tax time, those individuals can face an unexpected bill from the IRS for the repayment of the subsidy.
"This is an issue that no one seems to be talking about yet," one GOP strategist told me. "But that will certainly change soon."
You can already imagine the slogans: "If you like your health care subsidy, you may not be able to keep it."The "young invincibles."
The White House is hailing the surge of signups in December -- bringing the total enrolled before the Dec. 24 deadline to 1.1 million. But there is also some very bad news: Most of the new enrollees are older and sicker than administration officials were hoping for.
For young healthy people, it may be a matter of simple mathematics: It could be cheaper to pay the penalty for not signing up for coverage before March 31 than to buy health insurance. But if young folks opt out, the system won't work because their premiums are needed to offset the costs for the older and sicker enrollees. They may be just procrastinating. If not, this could lead to a fatal scenario: rising premium costs across the board.The employer dump.
Like the young invincibles, many companies with more than 50 employees are also taking out their calculators and deciding what will be best for their bottom lines. Unfortunately for Obamacare supporters -- and many employees -- the final tallies could weigh in favor of dropping health coverage for employees, employees' spouses, retirees or all the above, and paying the federal penalty.That could mean workers who have enjoyed employer-provided health care plans for the entirety of their working lives may be sent to the exchanges to buy their own coverage for the first time ever. If that prospect doesn't seem daunting enough, those people also will have strict time deadlines for finding new insurance or they, too, will face federally mandated penalties.
Liberty once lost, is lost forever.