As seen in the SD Union-Tribune:
Changes to health coverage are set to take full effect next year as a result of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Open enrollment in California starts Oct. 1 and the state agency overseeing the health-insurance exchange has been gearing up to help the uninsured learn about available options. While proponents say the overhaul is a fair, affordable way to improve health coverage, critics say the costs are too high and the plan will serve to kill jobs. Below, we hear from the con side.
Over the next few weeks, California will push full steam ahead to implement President Obama’s new health-care law. Taxpayers had better watch out for the iceberg coming their way.
It’s no surprise that California leads the pack in rushing to implement the Affordable Care Act. When the president says, “Jump,” Democrats in Sacramento are quick to ask, “How high?” I think a better question is, “Where the heck is the lifeboat?”
We find ourselves on the cusp of one of the biggest government expansions in generations — it’s positively massive. Why would we want to dig further into debt and cost our nation upward of $1.76 trillion by 2022 — all in the name of trying to make health insurance more accessible and affordable? Is it a worthy goal? Of course, but not like this.
The under-30 set is going to stagger when this law is implemented, because the reality for many young adults — a large chunk of the uninsured in this state — is that the premiums are actually much higher than what is currently on the market. And for those individuals opting to buy a basic catastrophic plan through the exchange, they will find they are ineligible for the subsidies supposedly intended to lower costs. This is an oft-ignored fact.
The bottom line is that uninsured Californians will still be forced to buy insurance beginning next year or pay a fine to the IRS. Either way, it means more money plucked from the pockets of the industrious in order to fuel the runaway growth of government. Individual hardworking Americans simply can’t afford it and neither can our state, especially when one considers we still face a precarious employment situation; in 34 out of 58 counties, the unemployment rate is in the double digits. For our neighbor to the east in Imperial County, it’s as high as 26 percent.
What’s more, I have grave concerns that 8 percent of working Californians can only find part-time employment. And nationwide, 75 percent of the jobs created over the last year have been part-time.
With the Affordable Care Act in place, it will likely only get worse.
Businesses are already cutting back hours for their part-time employees to avoid the insurance mandate under the law. And if they are not cutting back hours, they are simply leery of hiring altogether. An April survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 41 percent of small businesses polled have delayed hiring because of the law.
It has even been reported that our own SeaWorld will reduce hours for many of their part-time and seasonal employees, capping maximum hours at 28 instead of 32. Whether or not it is their stated intent, keeping employees below the 30-hour workweek means they will not have to provide insurance, but at the same time these same workers will have less take-home pay.
Ironically, to the disappointment of thousands of applicants, even Covered California is only hiring part-time workers to staff call centers. They will not even offer health benefits! I guess if you are employed by the exchange, you better be on it, too.
Still, the most telling admission of how the law plays favorites is the recent exemption for many congressional staff. If health-care reform is not good enough for them, what makes Washington think it is good for the rest of us?
Sadly, President Obama and bureaucrats in our nation’s capital are more interested in inflating the size of the federal government rather than getting the private sector back to work. We have a broken economy, and moving us closer to a part-time workforce is no way to rebuild.
I talk to a lot of people who are just plain confused about how this will impact their families and businesses. That’s why my Republican colleagues and I put together an interactive website —
CoveringHealthCareCA.com — to help you navigate the law and learn about its real costs. I encourage you to check it out.
Should we repeal the law? Of course — but I’m wise enough to recognize the political reality. I will, however, continue to fight for any and all reforms that will increase consumer choice of health-care options, improve the quality of care received by residents and lower the cost of health-care services. Believe it or not, this can all be done without a colossal increase in our government bureaucracy.
Jones represents the 71st Assembly District, which includes the eastern San Diego County communities of Alpine, Borrego Springs, Casa de Oro-Mount Helix, El Cajon, Lakeside, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Santee and Spring Valley; and southern Riverside County.