65% of small businesses face Obamacare premium hikes
Nearly two thirds of small businesses that offer insurance to their employees will experience premium increases under Obamacare.
No doubt, Obamacare boosters will charge that this information is from some right wing think tank. Unfortunately for them, the figures come from the actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid - Obamacare's home office.
What it found was that 65% of small businesses that offer insurance will likely see their premiums rise thanks to ObamaCare. That translates into higher insurance costs for 11 million workers.
The reason? These companies generally employ younger, healthier workers and so had been paying lower-than-average rates.
But since ObamaCare bans insurance companies from considering health when setting premiums, these companies will get hit with higher costs.
"We are estimating that 65% of small firms are expected to experience increases in their premium rates," the report said, "while the remaining 35% are anticipated to have rate reductions."
The report doesn't say how big these hikes will be, but we have good reason to believe the extra costs will be significant.
One study, for example, found that 63% of small employers in Wisconsin will see premiums jump 15% because of ObamaCare. A separate study found that 89% of small companies in Maine would see rate hikes of 12% on average.
Another, by consulting firm Oliver Wyman, concluded that ObamaCare would push up small group premiums nationwide 20%.
As soon as the CMS report came out, Democratic leaders rushed to the microphones to dismiss it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's spokesman said it was "incomplete" and that the GOP would use the report "to mislead and deceive Americans."
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., issued a memo proclaiming CMS's findings to be no big deal, since "on average, the premium decreases would be larger than the premium increases."
But that's not at all what these Democrats had promised small businesses.
They said ObamaCare would create new, fiercely competitive markets that would result in lower prices and fewer rate shocks.
In 2009, Obama promised small businesses that his plan would "make the coverage that you're currently providing more affordable." Later he said it would drive small-business premiums down by 4% in its first year, and as much as 25% by 2016.
This would be a first in American politics: the opposition using the administration's own numbers "to mislead and deceive Americans." Is there no end to Republican perfidy?
And don't you love Waxman? He thinks that because "on average" premium decreases will outnumber premium increases that everything is A-OK - except, of course, if your premium goes up 20% in which case you would hardly feel lucky about the "average."
The GOP's current problem is that all of this is in the future. Because Obama has pushed back deadlines - delaying the opening of the small business exchanges, for example - the effects of the increases won't be felt until after the election.
You can tell voters what's coming but until they actually feel the pain, they aren't likely to get very upset. This is what Obama and the Democrats are counting on before the mid term elections in November.