Mark’s Story: Lost jobs and lost coverage

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If you ask Mark what is the greatest threat to his small business, he’ll tell you it’s not competition: it’s the federal government.

Mark reports that he is the owner of six Nebraska hair salons, where he employs a total of 40 people.  He likely would have expanded his business to another store and hired another 10 or more employees to do so. But Obamacare requires employers to purchase their full-time employee’s health insurance if they have 50 or more employees, and Mark couldn’t afford to do that.

“Those are jobs that are lost because the government has imposed things upon me that make me feel that it’s not in my best interest to expand.”

The artificial competition forced by the mandate has also kept potential employees from choosing to work for Mark’s salons.

In addition to owning his hair salons, Mark has spent 35 years as a medical administrator. In this context, he is frustrated with the administrative burden of Obamacare. He says the physicians he works with now find that they are “computer jockeys, instead of surgeons.”

Mark describes situations where providers will craft a unique procedure for a particular patient’s needs, but find that they still must fill out reams of paperwork to meet regulations—even though that paperwork isn’t applicable to the actual procedure that occurred.

And because Obamacare required significant technical upgrades in medical offices, Mark says that many of the family practice physicians he worked with are deciding to retire rather than spend $30,000 to $50,000 on new computer systems.

“These are the doctors in their 50s, 60s, [and] 70s who would have been mentors to other doctors in the past. Obamacare forced them, rather than taking on additional cost for their business, to retire,” losing years of their expertise and patient care.”

Mark is outraged at the regulations that have harmed physician practices and kept him from being able to sensibly expand his business.   He concludes, “I just want it repealed.”

How our plan would help:

Our plan would repeal the employer mandate that has so distorted hiring practices and forced too many employers to cut hours for employees and even reduce their workforces to avoid the trigger.

Whitney Jones of The Heritage Foundation reports:  “The Obamacare mandate requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to provide proof of insurance coverage to the IRS. Businesses face the risk of tax penalties if they do not provide government-stipulated ‘minimum essential coverage’ to employees who work at least 30 hours a week.

Obamacare’s employer mandate has some unpleasant consequences for both employers and employees. It results in businesses paying their workers lower wages in order to afford the government’s mandatory level of health insurance coverage. It also creates incentives for employers to scale back workers’ hours in order to come under the law’s arbitrary compliance standards for full-time employment.

“Among policy analysts, both liberal and conservative, there is a growing consensus that the employer mandate should be repealed.

“For example, analysts at the Urban Institute, a prominent liberal think tank based in Washington, argue that the employer mandate negatively affects the labor market and harms low-wage workers. The Urban Institute analysts find that “eliminating the employer mandate would eliminate labor market distortions in the law, lessen opposition to the law from employers, and have little effect on coverage.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that employers who don’t comply with the employer mandate will pay $12 billion in tax penalties for 2018 and $139 billion over the 2015-2024 period.

By eliminating the tax penalty, employers will have more flexibility in hiring and building their businesses and will have more money in their bank accounts to invest in growing their companies.

The terrible burden that physicians and other health care providers face because of the bureaucratization of American medicine cannot be addressed in this bill.  Putting patients back in charge of health coverage choices is an important first step to taking back control.  Reducing the burden of bureaucracy on the medical profession must be the next item on the freedom agenda.

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