Obama Health Care Could Inadvertently Mean Higher Insurance Costs For Families

Many families could potentially be left without access to subsidized health insurance, thanks to a provision in Obama health care created to prevent employers from dropping health insurance coverage for their employees. This is a big problem and major headache for both congressional Democrats and the Obama administration, due to the fact that beginning in 2014 everyone is required to be insured, and many families cannot afford to buy health insurance should employers drop coverage.
Support for Obama health care could be dramatically undercut due to this situation warn some of Obama’s closest allies.  As is already widely known, Obama health care contributed to the loss of Democrats in the House in midterm 2010 elections; many voters are adamantly against the health care law.
Jocelyn Guyer, deputy executive director at the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, stated that “It’s going to be a massive problem if it comes out that families have to buy really expensive employer-based coverage.”  The huge obstacle facing families is that while the Obama health care law will require that families have coverage by 2014 or face penalties, it still doesn’t mean that families will have access to affordable options.
A “firewall” in the Obama health care law is the concern right now, as this firewall means that workers whose employers provide affordable coverage will be denied subsidies.  Workers who have employer sponsored health care plans with premiums that cost less than 9.5% of their income would not be eligible for subsidies, while employees with premiums above that amount will be eligible for subsidies because the cost for employer coverage is considered unaffordable.
In the beginning, advocates for Obama health care were under the impression that the threshold applied to family coverage.  For example, a worker and his/her family would be eligible for subsidies if the worker’s premium costs were 20% of his/her income.  However, in calculating the cost of Obama health care for last year, the JCT (Joint Committee on Taxation) understood the new health care law to mean that as long as the individual plan is affordable, employees and their families will not be eligible for subsidies no matter what the price of the family plan is.

Mark South
Obama Health Care

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