employer mandate

Obamacare’s latest victims: college students

Obamacare’s latest victims are not women, the poor or even the elderly, but young, healthy and carefree college students.

Students at the University of South Carolina are in for a treat once they find out their schools’ tuition is going to cost them considerably more next year. The surprise will be even harder to assimilate once they learn that the Affordable Care Act is responsible for the increase.

The school claims that a tuition increase rate of 3.2 percent is necessary to help cover for the almost $18 million it needs to come up with to cover for the state-mandated employee pay raises, implementation of Obamacare and retirement benefits.

While the school is blaming the state for imposing the mandates without providing financial assistance first, it is also urging parents and students to understand their situation. The heavy-handed health care regulations and the increasing mandates regarding pay raises destined to employees are driving the tuition costs up and putting the school’s livelihood on the line.

But the University of South Carolina is not the only large employer suffering the consequences of the mandate. Under ACA, large employees are required to offer health coverage to any employee who puts in more than 30 hours of work a week. If employers are not able to meet these requirements, they are forced to pay a $2,000 fine per employee.

In many cases, companies prefer to go for the fine and end up ditching coverage altogether, leaving employees to search for health care insurance independently. This unintended consequence of the law’s employer mandate has been adding further financial burdens to hard-working low- and middle-income Americans.

Obamacare’s Employer Mandate Delays Head-to-Head

“[The President] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…” — Article II, Section 3 (The Faithful Execution Clause)

Yesterday’s announcement of additional Obamacare employer mandate delays offers us yet another occasion to turn to actual the law passed by Congress.  When the four statutory Obamacare provisions below are viewed head-to-head against the new Obama Administration/IRS regulatory guidance, it’s clear that one of these things is not like the other.


Statutory Authority - PPACA Section 1513(d):

(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.

Obama Administration/IRS - Preamble to the February 10, 2014 Final Regulations (Page 106):

Section 1513(d) of the Affordable Care Act provides that section 4980H applies to months after December 31, 2013; however, Notice 2013-45, issued on July 9, 2013, provides as transition relief that no assessable payments under section 4980H will apply for 2014…Notice 2013-45 provides that the employer shared responsibility provisions under section 4980H (and the information reporting provisions) will become effective for 2015.

Obamacare, in one photo

Given this week’s news of yet another delay to yet another Obamacare regulation that just five short years ago was going to literally keep people from dying in the streets, I thought an illustration would be useful. So here it is:

flaming train

Yep. That’s it. That’s Obamacare in a nutshell.

I first saw this image linked to Obamacare by Twitter user @cuffymeh (#FF) a couple years ago during the 2012 presidential campaign when the first delays and waivers started popping up. I laughed for a good 10 minutes. It perfectly portrays everything about Obamacare in one neat, catastrophic package.

The absurdly huge amount of flame represents the massive size of the failure so far. From waivers, to delays, to implementation, to website failures, to coverage gaps, to state rebukes, to ever-sinking poll numbers. It is uniquely appropriate that there are more flames and smoke than train in the photo.

While it is, of course, a still photo, the train does have a sense of motion, but it seems like a very sluggish, hampered speed. Obamacare has moved just as slowly and ungracefully. Some of the parts that would eventually become the law started being proposed in 2007 even before the 2008 presidential campaign heated up (pun fully intended).

Obama administration delays employer mandate until 2016

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced this afternoon that it will delay enforcement of Obamacare’s employer mandate until 2016 for businesses with less than 100 employees.

The employer mandate is a provision of Obamacare that requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, defined as someone who works at least 30 hours a week, to offer health insurance benefits or face a punitive, $2,000 per worker tax.

The provision was supposed to take effect at the beginning of 2014, as required by statue. Businesses expressed concern about the mandate, and many responded by cutting hours or dropping health benefits. The Treasury Department unilaterally delayed enforcement of the provision last summer, making the announcement in a blog post.

The Treasury Department announced today that it is delaying enforcement of the provision for businesses with 50 to 99 full-time employees until the beginning of 2016.

“While about 96 percent of employers are not subject to the employer responsibility provision, for those employers that are, we will continue to make the compliance process simpler and easier to navigate,” said Mark Mazur, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy.

Obamacare: Reasons to Hope and Ways to Opt-Out

Things have been so disappointing for people that lean right for so many years now that there’s a general tendency toward hopelessness and cynicism when it comes to believing that anyone on the Hill represents their interests. After all, it’s tough to battle brute accusations of racism and obstruction with reasoned arguments concerning economic struggles and the inefficiencies of wealth transfer.

At some point, people just get angry and lose faith. But take heart conservatives and libertarians: there are people within the district and around the country working on your behalf:

A federal judge in the District of Columbia will hear oral arguments on Tuesday in one of several cases brought by states including Indiana and Oklahoma, along with business owners and individual consumers, who say that the law does not grant the Internal Revenue Service authority to provide tax credits or subsidies to people who buy insurance through the federal exchange.

…The subsidy lawsuits grow out of three years of work by conservative and libertarian theorists at Washington-based research organizations like the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The cases are part of a continuing, multifaceted legal assault on the Affordable Care Act that began with the Supreme Court challenge to the law and shows no signs of abating.

One-Year Individual Mandate Delay Wouldn’t Cripple ObamaCare

individual mandate

There’s no question that the individual mandate is the center of the ObamaCare universe.  Many other provisions are crucial to the law, but none to the extent of the individual mandate.  This is what made John Roberts’ decision last June to abandon originalism by constitutionally validating the individual mandate tax-penalty so painful.  Regardless of where the court came down on severability, the law could not have effectively functioned without the mandate intact.

Which brings us to the most recent episode of the ObamaCare delay game, this time focused on a one-year individual mandate delay.  At the height of the CR/debt-ceiling showdown, I wrote a post titled “Don’t Settle for One-Year Individual Mandate Delay,” arguing that any acceptable compromise would need to at least delay the exchange subsidies to be an effective barrier toward full implementation.

Those were the good ol’ days where there was hope that the Republicans would stand together and fight for real ObamaCare concessions.  Like defunding it or a one-year delay of the entire law.  In retrospect, I suppose I should have written a post titled “Don’t Settle for…Nothing.”

So here’s my point again: The first year of the individual mandate isn’t that big of a deal.  It’s an existential issue as a matter of constitutional law and individual liberty generally, but don’t believe the hype that the individual mandate is absolutely essential to ObamaCare in the first year.

There are two major reasons why:

Does the Administration Dream of ObamaCare Sheep?


Keep dreaming, the flock is scattered.  We’re less than one month away now from the supposed grand opening of the ObamaCare exchanges, and yet 44% of Americans aren’t even sure whether ObamaCare is still a law.

Which begs the question: Is ObamaCare a law?

This 44% shocker from the Kaiser Family Foundation’s August Health Tracking Poll reveals America’s collective “wtf?” when it comes to ObamaCare’s legal status.  Some appear to think that the House’s two symbolic full repeal attempts were actually successful (wishful thinking), others believe it was overturned by Chief Justice John Roberts and company (perhaps they read the advance copies before he went the “tax” route?).  But most (31%) just can’t figure out what the heck is going on with this law.  Can you blame them?

- Is it a law when President Obama spends years telling you that his signature legislation will let you can keep your plan and your doctor if you like them, but you’re now facing the reality of potentially losing both come 2014?

ObamaCare will cost Delta Air Lines $100 million


Delta Air Lines sent a letter to the Obama Administration in June warning them that the mandates and taxes in ObamaCare will cost the company $100 million.

The letter, which was made available via Erick Erickson at RedState, followed a meeting between Robert Knight, a Delta executive, and an Obama Administration official at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, where the airline is based. In the letter, Knight breaks down the various provisions of the law and associated costs that ObamaCare will impose on the airline and what it could mean for employees.

“The [Affordable Care Act] requires large employers to pay an annual fee of $63 per covered participant in 2014,” wrote Knight to the unnamed Obama Administration official with whom he met. “For Delta’s roughly 160,000 enrolled active and retired employees and their family members, this represents more than $10 million added to the cost of providing health care next year.”

Knight noted that the fee, which is essentially a tax, provides no benefit to Delta’s workers and is “a direct subsidy” from the company and its employees “to those who participate in [ObamaCare’s state] exchanges.” He also explained that the requirement to cover children until they’re 26 years-old and the individual mandate will cost the company a total of $28 million.

ObamaCare Call Center To Keep Employees Under 30 Hours/Week

part-time jobs

ObamaCare’s employer mandate may have been delayed until 2015, but its disastrous effects on the price of labor are still being felt throughout the country.  Now we have a new prime (and hilarious) example of its inevitable market distortions.  Much of the budding bureaucracy being hired in a California ObamaCare call center inform eager entitlement-seekers how to access the new ObamaCare dole will be working under 30 hours/week.  Of course this hiring policy is designed to avoid, of all things, ObamaCare.

As originally reported in the Contra Costa Times and picked up widely by Eliana Johnson at NRO,  the California county and job applicants are less than pleased with the development:

Earlier this year, Contra Costa County won the right to run a health care call center, where workers will answer questions to help implement the president’s Affordable Care Act. Area politicians called the 200-plus jobs it would bring to the region an economic coup.

Now, with two months to go before the Concord operation opens to serve the public, information has surfaced that about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.

The Contra Costa County supervisor whose district includes the call center called the whole hiring process — which attracted about 7,000 applicants — a “comedy of errors.”

White House threatens to veto ObamaCare mandate delays

Despite the Obama Administration acting to delay parts of ObamaCare, the White House issued a veto threat yesterday on two pieces of legislation proposed in the House that would delay the individual and employer mandates.

“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2667 and H.R. 2668 because the bills, taken together, would cost millions of hard-working middle class families the security of affordable health coverage and care they deserve,” the White House said in a statement. “Rather than attempting once again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which the House has tried nearly 40 times, it’s time for the Congress to stop fighting old political battles and join the President in an agenda focused on providing greater economic opportunity and security for middle class families and all those working to get into the middle class.”

“H.R. 2667 is unnecessary, and H.R. 2668 would raise health insurance premiums and increase the number of uninsured Americans,” added the White House. “Enacting this legislation would undermine key elements of the health law, facilitating further efforts to repeal a law that is already helping millions of Americans stay on their parents’ plans until age 26, millions more who are getting free preventive care that catches illness early on, and thousands of children with pre-existing conditions who are now covered.”

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