Obamacare: Reduced Hours, Cost Hikes, Cancelations, Enrollment Attrition

Posted: Aug 25, 2014 1:44 PM
Meanwhile, in Obamacare news (via the Free Beacon):

Obamacare mandates that substitute teachers cannot work more than 30 hours per week at the same district without being offered healthcare benefits. The Central Cambria School District is now faced with a serious dilemma- how they will deal with a teacher’s absence when a regular teacher cannot work and when a substitute teacher is close to exceeding their 30 hour threshold. Lisa Urbassik, a 7th grade Language Arts teacher at the school district is worried about how the Obamacare rule will affect students. “They’re (substitute teachers) going to have a limited number of days that they can work in each district. If you get a teacher that has to maybe be out sick for a whole week for some reason, then how are you going to have one sub in to cover that class, how are you going to have any sort of continuity for the students?” ...Joe Klezek, a long-term substitute teacher in the district, said that substitute teachers rely on substitute teaching to gain experience and eventually get hired on as permanent teachers. “Pretty much all teachers had to pay their dues at some point,” [he said]. The school employs a system called “AESOP” to ensure that substitute teachers do not exceed 30 hours a week. Substitute teachers have not been a problem for them in past years, they said.

As Democrats have pushed for a minimum wage hike -- which would kill jobs and close off opportunities for entry-level workers by literally raising the cost of creating jobs -- Republicans have proposed reversing Obamacare's effective reduction of the standard work week.  The House passed a bill in April to restore the 40-hour work week vis-a-vis the (twice delayed) Obamacare employer mandate; the Democrat-held Senate didn't consider the measure, which the White House threatened to veto.  A recent rain-related grounds crew debacle at Chicago's Wrigley Field was also blamed on Obamacare's impact on hourly workers.  The federal government is warning hundreds of thousands of Obamacare "enrollees" that they must submit additional information to verify their eligibility by the end of next month, or have their coverage voided.  This is part of the ongoing mess created by the millions of "data discrepancy" issues that have dogged Obamacare's mechanics. A substantial percentage of people touted as "enrolled" by the Obama administration never paid their initial premiums, and major insurers have reported significant attrition among customers who had been current with their payments.  The administration has also denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Associated Press regarding Healthcare.gov's data security integrity.  The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office released a report last month demonstrating that the federal health exchange enrolled 11 of the watchdog's 12 fake consumers who sought to buy coverage online or over the phone.  The Cook Political Report's Amy Walter wrote an analysis last week confirming that despite some chest-thumping from Democrats, Obamacare is still a "huge liability" for the president's party:

Obamacare remains a liability to Democrats this fall. It remains widely unpopular in southern red states where control of the Senate will be determined. It may not be the issue this cycle, but it is still a top negative for Democrats. Plus, the more unpopular the President, the more politically toxic any issue associated with him or his administration. One Republican consultant told me he’s calling this the “O” election: it is defined by views of Obama. And among Republicans and independents, those views aren’t positive.

Democratic Senator Mark Pryor began airing an ad this month that quasi-defends Obamacare -- which mentions neither that word, nor the law's more official name, the Affordable Care Act.  The spot ignores the thousands of Arkansans who've lost their existing coverage under Obamacare ("anecdotes," sniffs the Senator), as well as the many consumers who are experiencing significant premium increases.  Both outcomes represent major violations of promises repeated by the president and Sen. Pryor, who's voted the Obama line 90 percent of the time.  Out in Colorado, home to another contested Senate race, officials have announced thousands of new cancellations, bringing the state's total to roughly 340,000.  Sen. Mark Udall's (D-CO) office applied pressure to state officials to "fix" the politically-damaging numbers last fall.  Udall's opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, is among the many Coloradans personally betrayed by Democrats' false "keep your plan" assurances:


A recent Washington Examiner editorial rehearses Obamacare's ongoing problems and shattered promises, noting that a PriceWaterhouseCoopers analysis has concluded that rates will increase by an average of eight percent across Obamacare's exchanges in 2015, with consumers in many states facing double-digit spikes. This is not what people were told to expect.  I'll leave you with this little nugget for US taxpayers:

If your income for 2014 is going to be higher than you estimated when you applied for health insurance, then complex connections between the health law and taxes can reduce or even eliminate your tax refund next year. Maybe you're collecting more commissions in an improving economy. Or your spouse got a better job. It could trigger an unwelcome surprise. The danger is that as your income grows, you don't qualify for as much of a tax credit. Any difference will come out of your tax refund, unless you have promptly reported the changes. Nearly 7 million households have gotten health insurance tax credits, and major tax preparation companies say most of those consumers appear to be unaware of the risk. "More than a third of tax credit recipients will owe some money back, and (that) can lead to some pretty hefty repayment liabilities," said George Brandes, vice president for health care programs at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

The unhappy surprises associated with this law are nowhere near over.