Higher Cost Lower Quality of Care
Under the plan now headed to Obama, individuals are required to purchase health insurance coverage or face a fine of up to $750 or 2 percent of their income -- whichever is greater. It includes a hardship exemption for poorer Americans.
Companies with more than 50 employees that don't provide coverage are required to pay a fee of $750 per worker if any of its employees rely on government subsidies to purchase coverage.
The compromise package would drop the individual fine to $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater. The fine on companies failing to provide coverage would jump to $2,000 per employee.
Worse yet, and admittedly by design, they have created a system that will encourage employers, to stop offering health insurance as a benefit:
Third, if more than two-thirds of the employees qualify for subsidies, the company would be paying the same tax penalty as if it had not offered a health plan in the first place. Faced with paying a hefty tax penalty whether they offer health insurance or not, many companies would drop their health plan, harming the remaining workers who do not qualify for subsidies. Those workers would be forced to buy health insurance on their own, paying 100 percent of the premium (instead of 40 percent or less through the employer) and paying with after-tax dollars. Even if the company raises pay by the amount they would have paid for health insurance (less the tax penalty), employees would now face income taxes on compensation that would otherwise be non-taxed health benefits.This will result in an even higher cost for the program than projected, and will spell the decline of healthcare in America. Those who will be impacted most, will not be the wealthy, who will always have access to quality care, or the poor who will see very little difference in their access to care. Instead, it will be America's middle class who will bear a higher burden for a lower quality of care.
Think of the ever-growing costs and accompanying decline in quality when it comes to public education, and you've got a good idea of what to expect in the not too distant future of healthcare.