Across the country, business owners are experiencing Obamacare's effects firsthand. The employer mandate and penalties apply to businesses with 50 or more full-time workers. Therefore, companies are figuring out ways to get by with more part-time and contract workers. The owner of Automation Systems, an Illinois company with 37 employees, says he wants to hire more people but can't because once the business crosses the 50-employee threshold, it will have to pay $40,000 in penalties, plus $2,000 for each additional employee.
This affects the area in which we can least afford to lose jobs: manufacturing. Of America's 250,000 manufacturers, about 200,000 had fewer than 20 employees in 2010. These are companies that could grow and form the core of many small towns and communities in America. But they likely won't be able to under this law. We cannot afford to let that happen. Rising costs and job loss are the last thing America needs right now.
Instead, we need policies that help Americans keep more of their hard-earned money. We need to help relieve their tax burdens by expanding child tax credits and to promote health care they can own and control by raising health savings account contribution limits. We need to increase affordability for struggling families with a refundable health care tax credit.
We must enact meaningful medical liability reform to increase access and reduce added costs and inefficiencies from defensive medicine.
In trying to help people who have uninsurable conditions, we must acknowledge that the magnitude, demographics and root causes of the uninsured problem differ from state to state. To the extent government can address the issue, the answer lies not in a one-size-fits-all federal government scheme imposed on states and citizens but in state leaders working with medical providers, employers, consumers and insurers to design state-based solutions.
We should reduce and streamline government regulations that force valuable resources to be spent on managing red tape rather than patient care. Free market innovations such as the patient-centered medical home model hold real promise. This is a collaborative approach by health care providers, insurers and patients, focused on achieving improved health outcomes, enhanced patient experience and reduced costs.
In a 2010 pilot program involving diabetic patients, 809 participants were compared with a control group of similar patients. The results were amazing. The patient-centered medical home group had 10.7 percent fewer hospital admissions, 36.3 percent fewer inpatient hospital days and 32.2 percent fewer emergency room visits. These improved health outcomes were achieved while the total medical costs for these patients were reduced by 6.5 percent.
As the economy limps along and Americans feel the pain, I hope that on this third anniversary of Obamacare, we can take a minute to look at the damage it will do and commit to do something now to reverse it.
Former Senator Rick Santorum is the author of Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works.
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