OPINION: Chicago Tribune Editorial: Employers Could Drop Health Care


November 25, 2013

President’s Hometown Paper Warns Of Next #BrokenPromise Shockwave that Could Impact Millions of Americans

Cassidy Bill Would Protect Employee Health Care

Reports indicate that five million Americans who purchase health insurance on the individual market have already lost their health care plans due to the president’s health law. As The Chicago Tribune explains, “The full brunt of Obamacare's impact on Americans is still gathering.” Millions of Americans who purchase their health insurance on the group market through their employers are also subject to the unwelcome consequences of the president’s broken promise. In response, House Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) last week introduced H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act, allowing plans currently available on the group market to continue to be offered. While the health law’s broken promises continue to pile up, House Republicans are focused on solutions.

November 25, 2013

Editorial: Employers Could Drop Health Care

Is that the next potential consequence of Obamacare?

Abbott Laboratories chief executive Miles White said something last Tuesday that should jolt tens of millions of Americans who watch from a comfortable distance as the giant Obamacare blimp ignites and tumbles to the ground. These Americans are safely ensconced in employer-provided health care coverage — for now.

But there are "clear incentives for companies to drop their health care plans and move people onto the exchanges," White told analysts at a luncheon, referring to the disastrously cranky and unreliable online insurance marketplaces created under Obamacare.

"I can tell you that the employees of Abbott or AbbVie (the pharmaceutical firm Abbott spun off in January) are going to be pretty unhappy about that, you know, if we did that," White said.

If President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders think the outcry against Obamacare is fierce now, watch if millions more Americans get blindsided with the news that they'll be forced into these dysfunctional government online marketplaces. Some will face higher premiums or higher deductibles, and they'll be required to share private medical and financial information on a website with a questionable security firewall, opening them to fraudsters, hackers and cyberchaos.

The full brunt of Obamacare's impact on Americans is still gathering. Every law creates winners and losers, but with this law so far, the losers are piling up:

• Millions of Americans have seen their individual coverage canceled and are scrambling to find new policies. Many are learning that their new coverage will probably cost more via higher premiums and deductibles … if they can break through the error messages to the HealthCare.gov website. The president's tepid "fix" last week would allow (but not require) insurers to renew old individual policies for a year, if state regulators are on board with that. On Friday, Illinois officials announced they would allow this temporary remedy. Now we'll see how Illinois insurers respond. Whatever happens, this move is only a delay. A complete overhaul of the federal law is still urgently needed.

• People who gain coverage through smaller employers are at risk of getting cancellation notices next year. Here's why: Many businesses with fewer than 50 employees buy coverage in the small-group market. These plans can temporarily keep offering coverage that didn't meet expensive Obamacare requirements. When that ends next year, though, many employers may cancel policies because Obamacare coverage will likely boost costs. …

Read the complete editorial online here.

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