Obama Administration Says Small Businesses Don’t Complain About Obamacare – Let’s Refresh Their Memory

November 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm (Economy, Health Care Reform, Jobs, Karen Mills, Obamacare, Small Business)

It’s a headline that anybody paying close attention to the health care reform debate would have thought had likely been ripped from The Onion.

Instead, it could be found at the Weekly Standard:

Obama’s Small Business Chief Has Not Heard One Case of Obamacare Hurting Small Business

Alas, it is not a satire; it is true.

Indeed, Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), claims that throughout her travels across our great nation, she has never heard small businesses claim that they may have to slash employee hours, may lose their best employees, and may be run out of business altogether.

On a recent airing of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the following exchange occurred:

“You know, I travel all around the country, every week I go to a different part of the country. I’m with small businesses. And I’m not hearing that,” Mills said in response to a question about how she would explain employers cutting work hours for employees because of Obamacare regulations. 
“You’ve never heard that?” host Joe Scarborough responded. “You need to talk to your staff and tell them to get you out of the bubble, because we are hearing that all the time.”

Scarborough offered Mills two additional chances to clarify, but she would not answer him.

She had never heard this.

One can only infer that Mills has either achieved new levels of intellectual dishonesty – an incredible feat coming from a member of the Obama administration – or she truly cannot remember one such instance.
With that, we’d like to offer Mills and the entire administration a public service refresher course on the matter.

We begin with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), an organization that succinctly claims the health insurance mandate “will almost certainly be detrimental to employers and employees alike”.  The NFIB represents over 350,000 small business owners, none of whom Mills has apparently spoken with.
The Director of Federal Public Policy at NFIB explains that Obamacare is forcing business owners to make additional and unnecessary decisions in an already crippling economy.

“Employers will have difficult decisions to make regarding current and future employees as it pertains to PPACA,” Amanda Austin claims.

“With the new healthcare law requiring businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to offer coverage or be fined, employers must plan and rethink their workforce now more than ever.”

FreedomWorks compiled a small list of businesses that had already made those tough decisions in the event President Obama was re-elected – to the tune of thousands of layoffs.

But we also delved into several businesses that were slashing their employee’s hours in an effort to remain compliant with the plan’s requirements for full-time status – something Mills also claims she has never heard.

According to the New American, Obamacare “requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees — with ‘full time’ defined as working at least 30 hours per week — to offer ‘affordable’ health insurance to those employees.”

The result?  Businesses are trying to drop below the 50 full-time employee level by either eliminating jobs, or eliminating hours.  In other words, the whole of Obamacare is a tax-happy prescription for small business disaster.

Additionally, the burdens being presented by Obamacare have contributed to record levels of uncertainty amongst small businesses owners (as demonstrated by the Optimism Index) not seen since the darkest days of the Carter administration.

But again, Mills hasn’t heard any of that.

With members of the Obama administration clearly being tone deaf when it comes to the concerns surrounding Obamacare, readers need to find other outlets for voicing their opinions.

What can you do?  Joshua Withrow has been keeping tabs on the states that have refused to implement health care exchanges under Obamacare – possibly the last resort in stopping the job killing bill.  Taking action against the implementation of state-run health exchanges will strike a critical blow against the heart of Obamacare.

So, are you willing to stand up to Obamacare?  Will you Take Action?

In short, are you willing to make yourself heard, or will you allow administration officials like Karen Mills to continue ignoring your voice?

Cross-posted at FreedomWorks

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State Exchanges – Is This Our Last Hope Against Obamacare?

November 15, 2012 at 11:56 am (FreedomWorks, Health Care Reform, Mandates, Obamacare, State Exchanges, State Rights, Subsidies)

On Thursday, Republican House Speaker John Boehner gave an interview with ABC News in which he famously declared, “Obamacare is the law of the land”.  But the battle as they say, has just begun.

FreedomWorks is leading that charge, taking action against the implementation of state-run health exchanges, and by extension, striking a critical blow against the heart of Obamacare.

With a Friday deadline looming, states are pressed with the task of determining whether or not to implement health insurance ‘exchanges’, a new government-run “marketplace” for obtaining health insurance.  These exchanges are designed for the management of billions of taxpayer dollars in insurance premium subsidies that are to be distributed to private insurance companies.

Noted health care policy critic Betsy McCaughey, explains it in layman’s terms:

“It’s like a supermarket that only sells cereal. The exchange will sell only the government-designed plan. In most states, exchanges will be an 800 number, a Web site and a government office, like the DMV.”

Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, explains what that really translates to for residents of those states who choose to implement such an exchange.

“State-created exchanges mean higher taxes, fewer jobs, and less protection of religious freedom.”

Practically a microcosm of the entire Obama platform during his first term, and certainly representative of what the future holds should Obamacare indeed become the law of the land.

So how can we use state exchanges to fight the new health care law?  Do nothing.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh stated that “there could be some delays if the governors refuse to set up the exchanges”, but simple delays could beget much larger problems for the health care overhaul. To understand this, it is necessary to understand why these exchanges need to be created in the first place. 
The federal government has admitted that it can’t pay for this health care ‘marketplace’, which would cost between $10 to $100 million per year in each state. Hence the necessity for each state to set up its own exchange, shouldering some of the costs.

The problem with that notion is that nowhere in the 2,700 page behemoth known as the Affordable Care Act, is it written that the states will be required to do so; the assumption being that the states would simply go along with the federal governments wishes.  Because of this, the government cannot legally enforce the employer mandate “tax” on employers in a state that has not set up an exchange.  Without the employer mandate, and without the exchanges to manage the insurance subsidies, ObamaCare falls apart.

That said, there is recourse for the Obama administration, which they have indicated will be sought – implementing federal exchanges in states that do not set up their own.

This creates a two-headed issue, however.

First, a minor matter of money.  The bill itself does not budget any money to do the work for the state.  This as we mentioned would amount to anywhere between $10 to $100 million per year, per state.  A matter more of inconvenience, as the federal government will now have to find ways to obtain that money from other sources – and they will.

The second issue is one that FreedomWorks Vice President of Health Care Policy Dean Clancy believes is the key to nullifying Obamacare.  Essentially, when the federal government implements an exchange, attempting to distribute the subsidies and enforce the mandates in the resisting states – it would be illegal.  The states involved could then sue. 

This alone will probably force Congress to reopen the health care law, opening up an opportunity to properly scrutinize Obamacare with Republicans in control of Congress this time around.

The simple equation for all of this is as follows:

No state exchanges = No mandates + No subsidies = Obamacare doesn’t work

In a July memorandum, Clancy lays out this simple path for the states to take in their battle against Obamacare:

  1. States that have begun to set up health exchanges should stop.
  2. States that have already approved legislation/funding for an exchange should rescind it.
  3. States that have been offered money for exchange implementation should refuse it.
  4. States that have received such money should, if possible, return it.

There’s still time.  And now, here’s what you can do.

First, take a look at this table which shows where each state stands regarding health care exchanges.  Currently, 14 states have chosen not to implement an exchange, while 17 others have taken no significant action or have been simply studying their options.  If a good portion of those 17 states were to refuse action, it would put a majority at odds with Obamacare, striking a devastating blow to the plan.

Second, the deadline for states to establish their own exchange is Friday, November 16th.  FreedomWorks is setting up state specific action pages for you.  These will be an invaluable resource for concerned citizens to contact their governor and/or leading state legislators to send them a message, to urge them to hold the line in rejecting state health care exchanges.  I have listed them below by state. Keep checking back on our Take Action page as more may be added in the near future.

In the end, Obamacare could possibly be nullified through all of our hard work, by making your voice heard in individual states, and through states taking action and fighting the federal government’s illegal distribution of subsidies and enforcement of mandates within their borders.

The irony however is that this all starts with inaction – the states must not implement these exchanges.  They must do nothing.

Are you willing to tell your state politicians that this may be our last best hope in the fight against Obamacare?  If so, contact your elected officials from this list:

New Jersey
Michigan
Arizona
Wyoming
Wisconsin
New Mexico
North Dakota
Florida
South Carolina
South Dakota

Cross-posted at FreedomWorks

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Mourning in America – Here’s Those Layoffs We Voted For

November 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm (2012 Election, Budgets, Full-Time Jobs, Government Spending, Health Care Reform, Layoffs, Medical Device Tax, Obamacare, Part-Time, Taxes)

Tuesday’s victory for the President marks the first time since its inception that Obamacare is no longer a what-if; it is the future of health care in America.

It also means a near immediate impact on the economy.  With 20 or so new or higher taxes set to be implemented, ranging from a $123 billion surtax on investment income, through the $20 billion medical device tax, all the way down to the $600 million executive compensation limit, Obamacare will be a nearly unbearable tax burden on the economy.

Who will pay?  The middle-class workforce, of course.

So with another four years for President Obama to look forward to, and the obvious inevitability of Obamacare that this entails, let’s examine the very real jobs that will be lost, and the very real lives that will be affected.

Welch Allyn

Welch Allyn, a company that manufactures medical diagnostic equipment in central New York, announced in September that they would be laying off 275 employees, or roughly 10% of their workforce over the next three years.  One of the major reasons discussed for the layoffs was a proactive response to the Medical Device Tax mandated by the new healthcare law.

Dana Holding Corp.

As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing “$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses”.  After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come.  The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.

Stryker

One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December.  Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce – an estimated 1,170 positions.

Boston Scientific

In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could “lead to significant job losses” for his company.  Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas – to China.

Medtronic

In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs.  That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.

Others

A short list of other companies facing future layoffs at the hands of Obamacare:

  • Smith & Nephew – 770 layoffs
  • Abbott Labs – 700 layoffs
  • Covidien – 595 layoffs
  • Kinetic Concepts – 427 layoffs
  • St. Jude Medical – 300 layoffs
  • Hill Rom – 200 layoffs

Beyond the complete elimination of a significant number of American jobs is another looming problem created by the health care law – a shift from full-time to part-time workers.
Sean Hackbarth of Free Enterprise explains:

A JP Morgan economist “points out that 8.3 million people are working in part-time jobs even though they’d prefer full-time work. Unfortunately, because of President Obama’s health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), workers in the hotel, restaurant, and retail industries could be pushed into part-time jobs working less than 30 hours per week.”

“Under the health care law, if a company has more than 50 “full time equivalent” workers, a combination of full and part-time employees, but doesn’t offer “affordable” coverage that meets the government’s minimum value standard, the company will have to pay a penalty. This penalty is determined by the number of full-time employees minus 30 full-time employees. So to reiterate a very important point: part-time workers are not part of the penalty formula. The health care law creates a perverse incentive to hire part-time versus full-time workers.”

Tangible examples of Obamacare causing a reduction in full-time workers:

Darden Restaurants

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Darden Restaurants, a casual dining chain best known for their Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants, is “experimenting with limiting the hours of some of its workers to avoid health care requirements under the Affordable Care Act when they take effect in 2014”.

JANCOA Janitorial Services

The CEO of JANCOA, Mary Miller, testified to Congress that Obamacare was a “dream killer”, adding that one option she had to consider “is reducing the majority of my team members to part-time employment in order to reduce the amount that I will be penalized.”

Kroger

The American retailer in Cincinnati, Ohio recently was reported to be planning a significant slashing of their hourly workers.  Doug Ross writes:

Operative Faith (a mid-level manager with the company) reveals that Kroger will soon join the ranks of Darden Restaurants and slash the hours of its non-exempt (hourly) workers to avoid millions in Obamacare penalties.

According to the source, Obamacare could result in tens of thousands of Kroger employees being limited to working 28 hours per week.

Summary

This is by no means, meant to be an exhaustive list.  But it is meant to provide examples of real companies, real jobs, and real names, soon to be added to the growing list of employment casualties provided by the inevitable implementation of Obamacare.

Last night, America voted for four more years of President Obama and his destructive economic and health care policies.  By extension, America last night voted their approval of the aforementioned layoffs and overall work reduction.

Now we must accept the inevitable.  Welcome to mourning in America.

Cross-posted at FreedomWorks

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