It has become a common headline in today's media: employer's dropping healthcare coverage because of "Obamacare". For example, FOX News has constructed so many versions of the story they could probably start a wing on their website dedicated to just that topic (link, link, link(s)) It is indeed a startling headline: healthcare reform meant to provide insurance to more people is actually causing masses of people to lose their insurance entirely! *GASP*
Given the numerous headlines which fall into the same vein as what was just discussed, one may be given the impression that employer based healthcare insurance was churning right along until this destructive "Obamacare" law came along. Of course, that impression would be demonstrably false. Since 2000, employer based healthcare has been on a steep decline:
The percentage of all employers offering health insurance in the past eight years peaked in 2000 at 69% and has fallen steadily since, hitting 60% this year, according to an annual survey of employers by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation. This from USA Today on December 13, 2007:
The percentage of people with health insurance through their employers — traditionally the way most people get coverage — is continuing to shrink, raising anxiety among workers and invigorating a debate about whether insurance should be tied to jobs. link
From 2001 to 2005, the number of uninsured U.S. workers rose by 3.4 million. Almost 19 million workers — 17% of all employees — were uninsured in 2005, according to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
The percentage of all employers offering health insurance in the past eight years peaked in 2000 at 69% and has fallen steadily since, hitting 60% this year, according to an annual survey of employers by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Among small firms of three to nine workers, the percentage offering insurance has dropped even more — from 58% in 2001 to 45% this year.
Given the recent headlines, one must wonder: Was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) causing employers to drop healthcare insurance before it was even considered as legislation?
Of course, this is a re-occurring theme for those opposed to ACA: blaming new legislation for problems that existed well before the legislation was even a possibility. Scenarios such as skyrocketing premiums, employers dropping insurance, denial of legitimate claims, and so on were all occurring at alarming rates prior to healthcare reform legislation and, in fact, were the driving force behind why healthcare reform was pursued by the President in the first place.
And of course, specific to the headline of the day: ACA employer 'mandates' impact roughly 4% link OF 4% link of businesses in America. That's quite a small percentage to justify all the bloviating about this topic. But, then again, one must wonder how many business owners and executives fall into the same category as the recent Sean Hannity featured business owner, who had made decisions about employee workforce based on nothing other than partisan spite and/or thoughtless acceptance of misinformation about Obamacare:
Obamacare has no effect on businesses with 49 employees or less. But in our brief conversation on the phone, Paul revealed that he has only four employees. Why the cutback on his workforce? “Well,” he said, “I haven’t been forced to do so, it’s just that I’ve chosen to do so. I have to deal with increased costs.” What costs? And how, I asked him, is any of it due to Obamacare? There was a long pause, after which he said he’d call me back. He never did. link
Yes, its true, even our beloved "business owners" are subject to the same partisan and subjective motivations as other humans.
Perhaps at some point a bit of solidarity can enter the political narrative? Perhaps even after voicing disagreement, our elected officials as well as a contingent of our country's populace in general can accept that a decision was made regarding healthcare reform, a law was passed, said law was upheld by the Supreme Court, the President who pursued said law was re-elected, and now it is all of our responsibility to do our part in making it the best that it can be? Perhaps?
Please adhere to the Vine CoH.