Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Survey Confirms Obamacare’s Tales of Woe

The California Health Care Foundation recently released its annual employer health survey, and the results again confirm how Obamacare has not lived up to its promises:

Dropped Coverage:  The number of California firms offering coverage dropped by ten percentage points in the past two years – from 73% in 2009 (the first year of the Obama Administration) to an all-time low of 63% in 2011.  Further, 42% of all California employees have ALREADY lost their pre-Obamacare coverage, as “grandfathered” (i.e., pre-Obamacare) plans quickly go the way of the dodo.

Higher Premiums:  Including all health plans in California, premiums skyrocketed by 9.1% in 2011 – a figure nearly triple the overall inflation rate.  Since 2002, premiums have risen by a whopping 153.5%, over five times the overall inflation rate.  And even though candidate Obama repeatedly promised his health care plan would LOWER premiums by $2,500 per family, and do so within his first term, California’s premiums went UP by an average of $1,310 per family last year alone.

Higher Costs:  The survey notes that cost-sharing and deductibles have increased “significantly” in prior years, yet more than one in four firms are very or somewhat likely to raise the employee share of premiums (36%), deductibles (33%), co-payments (34%), or prescription drug charges (30%) this year alone.  In June 2009, President Obama claimed that any health care legislation must control costs: “If any bill arrives from Congress that is not controlling costs, that’s not a bill I can support.  It’s going to have to control costs.”  However, the persistent increases in cost-sharing demonstrate that Obamacare has not slowed accelerating health spending.

Ineffective Tax Credit:  The number of California small firms – those with 3 to 9 employees – offering coverage dropped by 11 percentage points in the past year alone, from 59% in the 2010 survey down to 48% in 2011.  Only 21% of small firms attempted to determine eligibility for Obamacare’s small business tax credit, and fewer than 10% of small firms actually plan on taking advantage of it.  These metrics again confirm that the complexities surrounding the credit – which involves filling out seven different worksheets to determine eligibility – is not encouraging small firms to offer coverage.

Whether it’s employees losing their coverage, or paying more for the coverage they manage to maintain (for now), it’s clear Obamacare has fallen short of its promises – and the law’s failure to deliver is harming middle-class families.