Monday, March 15, 2010

Obamacare will Harm Working Americans

There is something that is clearly seen in the policy changes that will come with Obama's radical health care agenda, but is largely being ignored by the mainstream media. It is being called by some health care watchers as "the President's dirty little secret." Essentially, Obama's policies will wage a war on America's labor markets, says Benjamin Domenech who was a political appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services and is now the managing editor of Health Care News.

The United States is suffering from the highest unemployment in a quarter of a century and in such an economic environment you would think the government would do everything in its power to soften or eliminate the barriers between people and jobs. Instead, Obama's health care legislation will place millions of American workers out of work or move them to contract employees. This, in turn, will only create turmoil for families that are already concerned about one of the weakest economies in US history.The President promised a health care bill that would allow one to keep their private insurance and give business owners some needed relief (such as in taxes and mandates) to make it more affordable. Thanks to record deficits and the largest percentage of government spending in the Gross Domestic Product since the Great Depression, there will not only be any additional relief, but there will be a dramatic increase on the costs for business owners when it comes to health care.

In fact, the President's legislation is full of pitfalls and paradoxes when it comes to the President's goal of making health care more available. These include:

  • Obama's proposal actually punishes employers for not providing health insurance. These type of provisions will lead to layoffs or the shifting of employees to contract status.

  • Meanwhile, the president will subsidize the health care of employers without employer-provided insurance. These dollars will largely come from employers, which will further create barriers between people and jobs.

  • This strange series of policies will essentially allow workers to receive the same compensation package they have today (assuming they can keep their jobs), but with Uncle Sam paying the health benefits of the bill, employers will have neither the need or the incentive to make up the difference in cash.

  • On paper, this proposal looks great for low income workers (those making less than $17,000 a year), but there is a terrible thing called reality, because the layoffs and other issues that will follow.

The heart of liberal policies is that they are filled with, what appears to be, good intentions, but are plagued with terrible consequences. Domenech notes that small businesses that employ lower-income workers will not find it sensible, economically, to offer health insurance. Any business that does so will virtually always fail because of the higher costs they will suffer compared to competitors.

Obama's health care agenda is full of paradoxes and odd agendas that, in the end, will make health care cost more, or lead to higher unemployment, or foster a less stable economic environment, or all the above. Solutions to health care problems continue to be found in the market and not in government.

Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is also host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650). Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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