This site was developed to be a fact finder and truth teller about one of the largest laws passed in United States history. Right now, the Affordable Care Act is still being fine-tuned by the executive branch making it a moving target. Many rules were written over the course of 2012 but only recently were they released.
Additional regulations will be coming in the future and expect a volatile 2013 as small businesses all over the country struggle to disseminate said regulations.
Fortunately for you, E.D. Bellis has your back.
Step one is arming yourself and your organization with the right information to make the appropriate decisions. Some of these decisions are integral for the future of your business and one cannot count on generic sources like those found in the media because there is a lot of myth out there and the law looks at every business differently based upon several demographics.
If you are short on time, here are a few tidbits to get you caught up on what transpired this year with healthcare reform. If you like the content take a moment to subscribe to our mailing list and click through the site for other relevant articles on this issue.
Early 2012 was dominated by media coverage of the Republican primary and legal challenges to the ACA. Every four years the election season seems to drag on and this cycle was the longest and most expensive to date. GOP candidates sparred over their opposition to Obamacare but none were able to articulate an alternative solution to the country’s troubled healthcare system. Furthermore, the strung out process diminished the republican brand and their eventual nominee, Governor Mitt Romney was unable to recover.
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State of Health Reform
The president kicked off the new year making the case for health reform in his annual State of the Union Address but avoided specifics. Meanwhile, his administration spent much of 2012 writing key rules and regulations but in seclusion and aside from a few like the contraception mandate, most flew under the radar until the damn burst after the presidential election.
More on this topic featured in the following articles…
Supreme Court Upholds ACA
In a shock to almost everybody except for this writer, in the decision of the century the Supreme Court upheld the Obama health reform law by a contentious 5-4 decision finding in the end the individual mandate was a tax. The court threw a curveball, however, by allowing states to opt out of the costly Medicaid expansion. This has been tightened recently by the feds who are now saying states cannot receive grant funding unless they participate in the expansion.
More reading on this topic check out the following articles and interviews…
General Election Season
One would expect this issue to be in the forefront of a presidential campaign especially because of the differences between parties on the favorability question. The problem for the Republicans and Mitt Romney is he was unable to contrast himself from President Obama because his plan was perceived to be similar to the ACA. This is incorrect.
Here is why…
ACA Absent During Debate
The healthcare reform law and its merits joined the witness protection program during the presidential debates. Instead talking points about Big Bird surfaced instead of the true issues like funding growing entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The loser in all of this is the American electorate who were not given adequate information on this issue.
Obama wins now what?
Implementation moves full-speed ahead. On November 20, 2012 the regulatory damn burst and several important rules were finally released. The year was devoid of direction from the federal government who opted to hold their cards until after the election. Now for the first time there is guidance on critical components in the law like health insurance exchanges and essential health benefits.
Further information on post-election developments…
Most states punt on health insurance exchanges
State governments were handed a tremendous responsibility by the federal government when it comes to setting up health insurance exchanges. The intent of the law was for them to be run at the state level but as we began to learn more specifics it became evident that these projects will have a huge cost, particularly for the technology to make them operate. As a result, most states have opted for a federal exchange. This introduces questions of whether the government can execute their plans by the October 1, 2012 date. It will also raise challenges for some states over federal government control and could introduce opportunities for a public option plan which was a deal breaker for members of both sides during ACA debate.
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HealthReformExplained.com has been all over the fiscal cliff since July, 2012. Our first column was featured in the health policy wonk review and describes the true driver to this fiscal mess. It is not what you may think and unless we can get a handle on rising healthcare costs, do a better job at managing chronic diseases and changing health behavior we will be in a fiscal quagmire as a nation.
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Predictions and reflections
I implore everyone reading this to save your last paycheck stub from December, 2012 and put it in a safe place. I would like you to compare it to your stub next year to see what differences there are with regards to taxes. There is a good chance you will be paying more next year. If you do not have insurance you will be required to purchase a health insurance policy or pay a new tax. This will be troubling for employees of small businesses who may drop coverage.
This is just the beginning of change coming from a law that will challenge all of us as individuals and make things difficult for thousands of small businesses who are already under-water trying to survive a weak economy.
The lack of coverage in the media for this law is astounding. My only explanation is because of the complexity and few people have taken the time to read it and really try to understand it.
This law means transformational change in our economy and society and there are sections in the law which will require millions of small businesses to seriously consider their business models. This is because the law now looks at full-time workers at those individuals who work for more than 30 hours per week. Firms with more than 50 full-time workers now have to provide health insurance, a benefit many small businesses no longer can afford to offer.
This business now faces a penalty of $2,000 per full-time worker for not providing coverage.
How will this impact our economy? For that answer, check back next week and follow us on Twitter @AmericasCanary for the latest healthcare reform information in real-time.
What is next and new taxes coming in 2013
There are nearly 20 new taxes beginning in January ranging from taxes on health insurers and pharmaceutical companies to a strangling excise tax on medical device manufacturers. There will be serious economic impact in the first quarter and experts have already predicted jobs will be lost due to the device tax and others.
The new tax on high wage earners and their un-earned income is the first law to tax income that is un-earned in American history and this very progressive move from a policy perspective opens up door to all kinds of new revenue streams for the federal government to tax down the road.
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