The title of President Obama’s signature health care initiative could not be more misleading. So far, it has not been affordable; additionally, it has not been easy to understand or enroll into.
The New York Post* reported, “[a] survey [taken by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits], which polled . . . employers, and their health-care pros, found that [54%] of respondents, . . . [believe] ACA . . . [is] ‘negative’ or ‘very negative.’”
Indeed, Universal health care is a noble ideal. Ensuring that every American can find affordable treatment for disease is something the U.S. should strive to do. Unfortunately, the current legislation was rammed down our throats, does not provide affordable care and its implementation is going to cost American taxpayers far more than originally forecasted.
Small businesses with 50 or less employees are being impacted along with larger corporations even though they are exempt from the legislation. The principal issue is that soaring health care costs in general, since the enactment of ACA, are devastating them.
The backlash to ACA has also included a response from the Supreme Court, which ruled that Hobby Lobby, a large retailer, is not required to provide contraceptives as part of the medical insurance it offers to its employees. The exemption is based upon religious grounds. As time passes, others will likely request exemption for other reasons relating to religious beliefs and civil liberty.
Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation, stated that many companies are taking actions to offset higher health care cost resulting from ACA that are detrimental to the health of our economy. These actions include: reducing the working force, reducing hours worked so fewer employees are working full time, freezing or reducing compensation and cutting back hiring.
The Post article indicates that one positive benefit is that companies have increased the dialogue they are having with employees about health issues. It should be noted that this is happening as the same employers are reducing employment and compensation.
The enactment of ACA, also known as Obamacare, was an ill-timed and very costly initiative. The nation was in the throes of the Great Recession, yet the president pushed a health care initiative through Congress that the country could not afford. The generally accepted perspective in the U.S. is that the money spent on Obamacare, which has increased dramatically from the start, would have been better spent on propping up the economy and dampening the impact of the recession on the middle and lower classes.
The epilogue to this bad story is that ACA will continue to be attacked by its detractors. Recent Supreme Court actions are a precursor to a much greater assault that will surely occur if Republicans increase their majority in the House and gain control of the Senate in the impending elections.
The saddest part of this nightmare is that universal health care is important to many uninsured Americans and it will not survive because the administration mishandled the effort.