Obamacare Affects On Trucking Industry
Welcome to the fifth and final blog posting of our review of Obamacare a.k.a. The Affordable Care Act. We’ve discussed some positive parts of the law and also some negative parts. Our opinion of the law has definitely changed as we have moved through the bill. We started out with positive feelings and have slowly come to be disappointed by how much regulation and spending there is in this bill. Our hope is that our lawmakers will come together to solve some of the problems involved with Obamacare. So let’s get back at it and put this one to bed.
We start off at section 6401 which is adding more protections against fraud and waste to Medicare, Medicaid and Chip. They are setting standards for enrollment and also for hospitals and physicians to enroll as a provider in the programs. Hopefully this will cut down on the fraud and waste that goes into this program. I really think that if we cut down on fraud and waste in government spending we could really afford to implement anything we needed. They are also going to establish programs to promote Elder Justice. These programs will be advocates for our senior population when it comes to assisted living facilities and their healthcare.
The next important part of the new law is in section 7002 Approval Pathway for Biosimilar Products. What this is essentially doing is opening up a way for the FDA to clear prescription drugs for other purposes without going through a lengthy retesting process. This aligns with a bill passed before called the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984. This would make it so that we could get new treatments for illness on the market quicker.
In addition to attempting to make FDA clearance faster for new drugs, they are expanding access to medicines for children and under-served communities in section 7101. Although this is a great concept in Obamacare, I think Walmart took the lead in helping make prescriptions more affordable with their four dollar monthly prescriptions and their ten dollar quarterly prescription program. I am not a huge cheerleader of Walmart but, they do have a few programs that actually work. Hopefully this new mandate in the Affordable Care Act will make it less expensive for those of us that do take prescription drugs.
There is a lot of sections in this bill that give benefits to handicapped people, low-income folks and the seniors. I think it will be good for these groups to get access to the healthcare and medical procedures and devices that they so desperately need. But, I am concerned with the amount of welfare in this country. Obamacare it appears is becoming more and more of a free ride for people that don’t want to be employed. Don’t get me wrong, if you are disabled or have truly fallen on tough times I am all for picking you up and getting you to a point where your life is manageable. However, I believe that there is a large group of folks that are capable to work that have figured out how to work the system and do so with no conscience. I would suggest that we should add some kind of work training program to assist these folks in getting employed so that once they get on their feet they can continue to support themselves.
One of the sections that has the business world buzzing is section 9001 Excise Tax on High Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage. This is otherwise called the “Cadillac Tax”, what this means is that employers that provide excess coverage to their employees are going to be “taxed” 40% of the overage. The overage is amount deemed by the government in charge of keeping track of this part of the bill. There are some exemptions that make this amount higher depending on the persons getting the coverage, such as women or elderly. This tax has been put into place so that the large companies can’t over insure their employees. I really don’t have a problem with rich people over insuring themselves or their employees? I think this is just an extraneous thing to add to Obamacare.
Further down we see in section 9004 and 9005 they are putting limitations and new taxes on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts. I guess since everyone figured out that they are awesome tax deductions and a good way to save money for health care costs they are trying to limit them or do away with them entirely.
We have also heard a lot of chatter about the medical device tax, this is covered in section 4191. The positive and good thing about this tax is that eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aids and anything else determined by the secretary is exempt from this tax. I really think that its kind of silly to try to fund a program by taxing the very items in the program that you are trying to make more affordable.
In another attempt to fund this bill with taxes on the very services that we are trying to make cheaper. Section 9010 imposes an annual fee on insurance companies that offer out twenty-five million dollars in policies. This is amazing to me that the people that crafted this bill would not think that the insurance companies wouldn’t price this into our premiums. I’m really surprised at the ability of the government to rob Peter to pay Paul. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised of the total lack of common sense here.
Section 9015 also imposes a new .9% tax on taxpayers that earn over $200,00 for single filer and $250,000 for a joint return. So this tax located within Obamacare is relevant to multi-truck owners who make higher amounts of money. This tax will be known as the “hospital tax”, I really think there would be better ways to fund these programs. Or in general a better way to design them. And another interesting tax is in section 5000B, this puts a 5% tax on elective cosmetic surgeries. I guess we had to wait till we got towards the end of the bill to find all the negatives of this bill. There is also a new tax on indoor tanning services which will be 10%.
It seems as the rest of the bill is provisions for funding and taxes on various services already previously mentioned. It really does appear that we are taxing the services and items that this bill is trying to make more affordable. Lastly, I did hear a rumor about this bill requiring all Americans to get microchip implanting. I was unable to find this in my review of the bill and it has been ruled as a hoax after more research on the subject.
Thank you for taking a look at my review of Obamacare. Hopefully I have shined a light on some of the negative items in the bill. And hopefully you have come away with a better understanding of what the bill is. If you have an questions, comments or suggestions I would love to hear them. This project was quite interesting and if you would like me to tackle a subject that you are interested in let me know. The website that I used to is at http://housedocs.house.gov/energycommerce/ppacacon.pdf. Thanks again for taking a look at my review of Obamacare and be safe out there!