Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

The Impact of the ACA is Behind Us; Right?

Politics, Quality of Life, U.S., Taxes, Healthcare, Economy

Some of the dust has settled concerning the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare as it is commonly called.  There are still more questions than answers surrounding the plan enrollment, the numbers of supposed enrollees who paid and didn’t pay their premiums, etc.

Add to those questions the emerging issues of how the 34 state-run exchanges that served as the enrollment mechanism will find the funds to continue their existence.  Each was created using federal funds that were advanced with no strings attached.  Four of those state exchanges have gone down in flames so we need only find ways to fund the remaining thirty.  That’s a break!

The remaining exchanges are now trying to determine how, and from whom, they’ll get the funds necessary to pay all the salaries, expenses for travel and meetings, and the costs of servicing the software/hardware systems that were created (several of which are being revamped as this is posted).

The most popular source of new funding at the moment is a new tax.  That isn’t surprising for any of us I suspect.  That is how governmental creations usually fund themselves.  The exchanges are now using taxes on the insurance companies as their primary funding tool.  Some are also looking to try to obtain funding from their respective state governments. 

The District of Columbia exchange has even gone so far as to tax all insurers authorized to sell insurance plans in the District to pay a tax on all premiums, even those premiums that have no connection to the exchange health plans.  These premiums would be for coverage such as disability plans, dental plans and so forth.  Of course, these taxes would be passed on to the people who pay the premiums.  Companies are never taxed.  Period.  Companies recover the taxes they are forced to pay from their customers through increased prices.  This is such a simple linkage as to be ignored, apparently.

This linkage will see any such tax on plans simply translated into higher premium cost paid by the covered people, part of which will, in many cases, also come from subsidies paid by government units thus increasing the cost to those units necessitating a bigger budget that is of course taken from the tax pool.  For example, 91% of the plans issued to some 140,000 people in Wisconsin have premium subsidies involved.

Everything flows downhill and the taxpayer sits at the bottom of that hill.  Politics does not easily lend itself to dealing with facts and realities.  It more often deals with smoke and mirrors to obfuscate the issues and confuse the onlookers, the taxpayers.  We’d better keep an eye on this whole area of ObamaCare lest we be hoodwinked...again!

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