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Politics and Healthcare

To All,

I want to address how the political arena is going to affect your business.

First, we must assume that Obama could be re-elected. Most of the power of ObamaCare comes directly from the Secretary of HHS, which is the executive branch. This means that even if Republicans win both houses, it is hard to imagine them being able to stop ObamaCare from being implemented. With so much of the changes and powers coming directly from the executive branch, all that must happen to keep Obamacare on track for 2014 is the re-election of President Obama.

So under the scenario that Obama is re-elected, here is how insurance is going to work. There are going to be many changing statutes, and coverage additions added between now and 2014. Almost all of these are in your current healthcare packages now. Texas has more mandates on healthcare than most states. The mandate changes will line the rest of the country up with us, with very little changes to Texas insurance until 2014.

When 2014 hits, everything is going to change in this scenario. Most economists agree that you as a small business owner will stop insurance and pay a fine. The fine is currently $2,500 for every full time block of hours. This is important because the fine is not based on full time staff, but labor hours. This means that as a business owner, it will be more cost effective to lower the amount of workforce to save money. This means fewer jobs are available.

If you have a large part time workforce, you need to begin to figure out how to transition that force come 2014 with the least amount of fines. There is no scenario that makes sense for you to extend coverage to all employees as you are going to be required to pay more per person than most do now. Your workforce will be on the government plan.

Now, if Romney wins, the uncertainty of healthcare is at an all-time high. Can he repeal the bill? That would take the house and senate to a full repeal. Is it going to be a retroactive repeal, or will it only be to stop future changes? Will they take out every measure that Obama has put in? One thing about how the bill was written is that even if the democrats win back the house and senate, if Romney wins, he can personally stop all functionality of Obamacare from his office. The President is in control of healthcare under Obamacare, so that is where all of the power falls. Congress has little power other than funding it.

The last issues exist: If the Republicans win the House and Senate, will they do their version of healthcare reform? Remember that prices doubled every four years AFTER the Republicans took over healthcare reforms in the ’90s. How much of Obamacare are they going to keep in place with their reform measures? Government intervention into the marketplace will increase rates regardless of political party. Competition and free markets are the only way to keep prices competitive in any industry, and healthcare is no different. We must be careful of promises of reforms, because once the government gets into the middle of a market, the market is no longer a free market, therefore capitalism does not exist and price will increase.

Let me know if you have any questions,

John Stacy