Where is there equity in the Affordable Care Act

As the clock counts down to the launch of the healthcare exchanges, various groups are looking for a way to avoid participating in the Affordable Care Act. The media recently showed labor union leaders meeting with President Obama in the White House looking for tax subsidies or an exemption from the Affordable Care Act. Their argument is that the requirements and associated costs will financially ruin the unions.

Another example is Congress voted to exempt themselves from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. As congressional members developed and promoted the Affordable Care Act, they discussed how the average citizen could have the same level of healthcare coverage as our lawmakers. It is a great talking point that appealed to everyone. The message conveyed is the benefits Congress receives should be available to the average citizen at the same cost level. Somehow, that concept got lost in the constructing of the Affordable Care Act. When lawmakers understood how the new law affects themselves and their staff, they created their own special exemption arguing they would lose their personnel.

More than 1,200[1] organizations have received waivers from the Affordable Care Act on annual benefit caps. These waivers exempt approximately 4 million people from not having to participate under the new law. Not surprising is that most of these organizations are politically connected.

The examples above demonstrate how politicians are not representing the average citizen’s interest. It appears that the lawmakers and those politically connected are only looking at their own self-interest. If a far sweeping law such as the Affordable Care Act is to benefit our country, then all U.S. citizens should be required to participate under the same rules.  Otherwise, all citizens should have the option to exempt out. There needs to be equity for all citizens enabling this program to be credible in the market. When there are those that can impose regulations on others and exempt themselves to varying degrees, it illustrates a lack of  credibility in the law’s intentions.

[1] Becket Adams, HOW MANY BUSINESSES ARE EXEMPT? THE FINAL NUMBER OF ‘OBAMACARE’ WAIVERS IS IN…, Jan 6, 2012 http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/01/06/how-many-businesses-are-exempt-the-final-number-of-obamacare-waivers-is-in/

One comment Add your comment

Elena Merino

September 28th, 2013
6:55 pm

In fact, our representatives and their staffers will be the ONLY individuals that can use pre-tax dollars to purchase individual insurance through a 125 Plan. On 9/13/13, the IRS (with the HHS and DOL) issued Notice 2013-54 that closed the last hope for individuals (not working for Congress) to use pre-tax dollars to purchase individual insurance. PPACA and later regulations began to shut down the ability of employers to use HRAs, 125 plans and FSAs to fund employees’ individual premiums. Now, for the first time since 1961, employers will NOT be able to contribute to their employees’ individual health premiums even through Premium Reimbursement Account! Unfortunately this comes at a time when many small employers (with less than 50 employees) will likely terminate their group insurance plans due to sky-rocketing small group premiums as well as the complex compliance requirements the must meet if they do offer benefits. Why should Congress and their staffs be able to use employer moneys and pre-tax their portion of the contributions for individual insurance, when private individuals can not? Small employers and their employees should be outraged!