Years Of Obamacare Problems Are Still On The Way

Given Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber’s candid comments, a whole load of information about Obamacare is now coming out — years too late for the public to weigh in on it.

Americans clearly aren’t happy about it: approval of the health-care law has dropped to an all-time low of just 37 percent.

It’s not surprising — a lot of things haven’t gone as promised. You were supposed to be able to keep your plan; that was a lie. Health insurance costs were supposed to fall — but premiums are rising. Obamacare was written to redistribute income for a select few — as this chart from the Brookings Institution makes clear:

Potential Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Income Inequality, The Brookings Institution

Potential Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Income Inequality, The Brookings Institution

But those problems are just the beginning. Obamacare’s been active for less than a year — there are a number of provisions in the health law that haven’t been activated yet. See a full timeline of the law here, courtesy of the right-leaning think tank American Action Forum.

Individual Mandate

The individual mandate’s been in action since Jan. 2014, but fewer people than expected have actually felt its sting. The mandate requires everyone the administration thinks can afford insurance to buy it or pay a penalty — which is growing.

This year, that “tax” was $95 for a single adult, or 1 percent of income — whichever is greater. But next year, it spikes to $325 per adult (two percent of income); in 2016, it’ll reach its peak at a massive $695, or 2.5 percent of income.

Plus, the administration issued an extra hardship exemption in 2014 that lowered the number of people who actually had to pay the penalty: the latest hardship is if a person’s policy was canceled by Obamacare itself. But there’s no guarantee that will stick around — more people could fall prey to the penalty in the future.

Employer Mandate

This one was supposed to hit in 2014, but the Obama administration decided to delay it.

On Jan. 1, 2015, employers with over 100 employees will be partially subjected to the mandate: they’ll have to provide coverage for 70 percent of employees by 2015 (95 percent of employees by 2016). Businesses with between 50 and 99 employees will have until January 2016 to provide health insurance to their employees; if they don’t, they’ll face fines of $2,000-$3,000 per worker.

The mandate incentivizes businesses with close to 50 employees to stop hiring or start firing to avoid the mandate’s penalties. AAF reports that adding a 50th employee now costs a firm $40,000 in extra costs due to Obamacare alone.

And Obamacare also introduces new costs on health insurance itself — especially for large employers. Obamacare requires employer health plans to cover a new batch of services, whether workers want them or not; mandates that fully-grown adults up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ plans; includes preventive services and at least 20 types of contraceptives — all major cost hikes for employers that are passed onto workers.