NEWS: Media Outlets Report on New Committee Analysis Showing Obamacare's Consequences for Job Creators

April 27, 2012

Employers Are Advised on Dropping Health Insurance
The Wall Street Journal

Consultants have told some large employers they can save money by dropping health insurance in 2014 and funneling employees into insurance exchanges under the new health-care law, according to a report by congressional Republicans.

Staff for Republican lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked companies represented on President Barack Obama's jobs council for statements and internal presentations made about the law. Their remarks, in a report released Thursday, show that some employers expect the law to increase their health-care costs.

But several who were mentioned in the report told The Wall Street Journal they have no plans to drop their health-insurance coverage. The committee's report said that "while no member of the council indicated that they were considering dropping their coverage at the current time, the temptation to drop coverage or provide a bare minimum level of coverage remains."

Whether the health-care overhaul will prompt employers to drop their health insurance is a subject of intense debate. Several studies have found that most employers don't expect to do so once workers have the option of buying policies through insurance exchanges, set to begin in 2014. But consultants say employers with lower-wage workers may be more likely to shift workers to exchanges…

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Republican report blasts Obama's healthcare law
By David Morgan

Republicans on Thursday issued a politically charged report that quoted President Barack Obama's corporate advisers as predicting his 2010 healthcare overhaul would raise - not lower - the cost of care.

The report, released as the Supreme Court weighs the fate of Obama's healthcare law, was compiled by the Republican staff of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee with input from major corporations including General Electric, Southwest Airlines and American Express.

The companies, members of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, see costs rising as a result of higher taxes, fees, and bureaucratic burdens, according to the report, titled "Higher Costs, More Confusion, Less Coverage."

They also are concerned about new benefits requiring free preventive care, the removal of lifetime limits and insurance coverage dependents, and said the law created an incentive to drop employer-sponsored health coverage by imposing penalties that are much lower than the cost of insurance per employee, the report said…

…The contents of the report reflect long-standing business complaints about the law's regulatory burdens, as well as Republican allegations that it will push costs higher…

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House: ACA hurts Obama's job council
By Kathryn Smith

…The subcommittee said employers are also suffering from uncertainty about regulations ahead and waiting for clarification on specific provisions such as essential health benefits, which impedes their planning.

Finally, the report found the law will end up forcing some businesses to drop health care coverage altogether, as they project it will be cheaper to pay the penalty for terminating coverage than to provide it.

”The penalty for paying [the penalty] is much lower per employee than the average cost of ‘playing,’” American Express is quoted as reporting to the committee.

”This report echoes numerous other analyses that project the president’s health care law will actually hurt job creators by increasing costs and ultimately could lead them to drop coverage,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in a statement…

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