Hosting Varney & Co This Morning Fox Business 9:15
It's still a ticking time bomb but a key part is delayed and in the process could make a major difference in mid-term elections. It certainly will make a huge difference for businesses as it removes a dark cloud that was already being felt. But, delaying the part of Obamacare that would have penalized employers for not providing health care insurance is a God send to millions of workers on the lower end of the income ladder.
Facing fines of $2,000 per employee meant either firing people or decreasing their hours to less than 30 a week (the new definition of full time).
This is much more a win for small business and people trying to earn their way through life than a political win that many in the media will portray it as. This is still an insidious law, cobbled together with a single goal in mind - a single payer system controlled by the government. The plan falls short of that ideological goal but plants seeds with enough destructive power to make the original goal a reality. The fact is most people will never "love" the healthcare law if Americans remain demanding of medical needs, like the idea of upward mobility and think everyone should have skin in the game.
Those notions are being chipped away at as we are being re-cast in a European model but the architects are often clumsy and ham-fisted.
Nowhere is this more evident than pushing through the so-called Affordable Healthcare Act. On paper it is preposterous and untenable yet it was sold as an economic plan that would also make the nation a fair place where everyone could either keep their doctors or get a doctor. Of course there is a big difference between access to healthcare insurance and quality healthcare but that's just one of the many realities of the law. Another reality is the bill destroys our economy and makes America less competitive. Sure, that's part of the plan but must go hand and hand with a willingness to be second best. It was too early to jip people out of income and think they would say "okay, it's for the greater good."
Make no mistake, this probably becomes one of those things that will be delayed and delayed and delayed until either Americans say they want to be a Scandinavian country or the law is scrapped.
The law is going to cost so much money and yet there isn't another gimmick or moving objected not already taxed.
Finding new ways to pay for this boondoggle was the least of the administration's worries, and with just four months left to implementation the White House faced serious pushback from the retail and restaurant industries. Moreover, small businesses were screaming as loud as another without a back pocket of lobbyists could scream. According to a Public Affairs Council poll completed last year, small businesses enjoyed a favorable rating of 68% - we still love our small businesses even if they might grow into large, mean, greedy businesses.
You Don't Have Lobbyists
While small businesses don't get the kind of sweetheart deal and attention of their larger brethren they do have organizations that fight for them... unfortunately you don't. Voting helps but voting in the wrong people, swayed by charm and turned off by too many detailed plans, the people we pick don't always have our best interest at heart. Or, put another way, they think they know what's best for us even if we don't agree. With this in mind there are other parts of the healthcare law that will kick in as originally scheduled.
Individuals without insurance will be penalized $95 or 1% of income, whichever is greater and that number climbs to $695 ($2,085 for families), or 2.5% of income, by 2016. This means by 2016 at least six million individuals but probably more will be paying $7.0 billion in penalties and it's estimated $8.0 billion plus each year from 2017 through 2022.
By the way, many states will not have healthcare exchanges in place and even those that do will probably provide more expensive insurance.
In California, United Health just dropped out of offering individuals healthcare insurance following Aetna and citing administrative costs. Less competition is never a good thing.
It's simply a mess.
The World's a Mess Too
Egypt is on the verge of something really ugly. There's a huge difference between unrest and Cairo actually going up in flames.
Portugal's government is unwinding and along with it hopes of true austerity.
Greece has hours to make a choice at real reform but probably will agree and not implement anything other than higher taxes.
Snowden is still in Russia, maybe, as country after country says "no thanks."
The overarching narrative is we can delay disasters but unless that extra time is used to fix problems the anxiety only gets worse and that day of reckoning more devastating.
Through it all we are reminded how great it is to be Americans. There will be no afternoon update.
Happy Birthday America
Have a safe and fun Fourth of July