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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Provision for small businesses to provide insurance delayed for a year

Parts of ObamaCare are beginning to fall away, even before full implementation. The Obama administration is currently saying that a special system of exchanges designed to make it easier for small businesses to provide insurance will be delayed now until 2015.

Insurance is far more expensive for small businesses. Many have no obligation under current U.S. law to provide coverage. Analysts now fear many might just stop trying and let workers go on the soon-to-be-launched state exchanges.

Insurance is far more expensive for small businesses. Many have no obligation under current U.S. law to provide coverage. Analysts now fear many might just stop trying and let workers go on the soon-to-be-launched state exchanges.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: ObamaCare, medical devices, small businesses, medical insurance


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Lots of small businesses struggle with providing insurance for their workers so this was supposed to facilitate it and make it easier for small business to do this," Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center says.

"It was a huge portion of the sale job. When they passed the law in 2010 there were many senators and members of Congress who were saying 'I am doing this because it's going to help small businesses.'" Capretta added that the administration is "way" behind schedule. 

The exchanges were originally meant to give workers a range of choices supported from their employers. At the present, they will now have only one choice until 2015, meaning they can't shop for insurance that includes their current providers.

Insurance is far more expensive for small businesses. Many have no obligation under current U.S. law to provide coverage. Analysts now fear many might just stop trying and let workers go on the soon-to-be-launched state exchanges.

"Even if it's just a small change of people who are leaving the employment-based insurance and coming into the individual insurance market, their costs and their numbers will overwhelm those who are currently uninsured," Sara Teppema of the Society of Actuaries, following an exhaustive study of ObamaCare, said. Essentially, costs will increase.

In the meantime, 79 senators, including several liberal lawmakers recently voted to repeal a new tax on medical devices contained in the health care law following a similar vote in the House.

"The House and the Senate agreeing? This is a harmonic convergence, it doesn't happen," former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh said. "But on this it's happened because the adverse consequences to our economy and the quality of health care are so apparent."

Critics say that a 2.3 percent sales tax on medical devices is unfair to the industry since it's a tax on gross sales, meaning it adds up to a much bigger percentage of a company's profits.

"I think that repealing the device tax would be irresponsible. We need the revenue and it's not going to be a job killer," Paul Van de Water of the Center for American Progress says, who opposes any repeal.

ObamaCare ostensibly would insure 30 million more people. As a result, device makers, like pharmaceutical companies, would get lots of new customers and a steady stream of new revenue to make up for the tax. Van de Water predicted that would still happen.

"These device manufacturers are for the most part going to be getting a large increase in business thanks to health reform, thanks to ObamaCare," he said. 

That's not necessarily true for the 7,000 small companies with 400,000 employees who make a wide range of devices.

"We make widgets -- hips, knees, stents, pacemakers, and implants, even, for prostate cancer. Those widgets tend to be used by people that are elderly. As the body parts wear out, we're needed," CEO of Theragenics Christine Jacobs says 

Jacobs notes that most people whose body parts wear out are already on Medicare, so ObamaCare does not provide a new revenue stream for her company -- only financial pain.

"In the case of a small company, that medical device tax is equal to our R-and-D budget for this year," Jacobs said.

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