Small business shafted again by Obamacare
Another day, another revelation that Obamacare will not deliver on its promises.
This time, it's small business getting the shaft. The bill promised that small business owners would be able to offer a range of plans to employees to choose from.
Nix that. Employees will only get a "take it or leave it" plan to buy.
The law calls for a new insurance marketplace specifically for small businesses, starting next year. But in most states, employers will not be able to get what Congress intended: the option to provide workers with a choice of health plans. They will instead be limited to a single plan.
The choice option, already available to many big businesses, was supposed to become available to small employers in January. But administration officials said they would delay it until 2015 in the 33 states where the federal government will be running insurance markets known as exchanges. And they will delay the requirement for other states as well.
The promise of affordable health insurance for small businesses was portrayed as a major advantage of the new health care law, mentioned often by White House officials and Democratic leaders in Congress as they fought opponents of the legislation.
Supporters of the law said they were disappointed by the turn of events.
The delay will "prolong and exacerbate health care costs that are crippling 29 million small businesses," said Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana and the chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
In the weeks leading up to the passage of the health care legislation in 2010, Ms. Landrieu provided crucial support for the measure, after securing changes to help small businesses.
The administration cited "operational challenges" as a reason for the delay. As a result, it said, most small employers buying insurance through an exchange will offer a single health plan to their workers next year.
Health insurance availability and cost are huge concerns for small businesses. They have less bargaining power than large companies and generally pay higher prices for insurance, if they can afford it at all.
All of this is the result of President Obama's decision to delay issuing thousands of pages of regulations until after the election. Many of these regulations were ready to go in May, 2012 or earlier, but the president refused to allow HHS to publish them - and for good reason from his point of view. The rules, which dictate to insurance companies what kinds of covergaes they must offer, will cause premiums for many consumers to skyrocket.
Since the insurance companies didn't get the regs until last December, they couldn't design policies to offer the public. No policies, no way to design the insurance exchanges. That's why there will be a delay and it is even uncertain if the small business exchanges will ever work as advertised at all.
There has got to be an overall accounting by Congress of the incompetent way Obamacare is being rolled out. Someone has to get a handle on what will be ready, what won't, and what will never be realized. A special investigating committee should do the trick.
At least it will hold the administration's feet to the fire and give Congress an idea of just how much overbudget this monstrosity will be.