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article imageOp-Ed: Obamacare at play in 2012 elections

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By Larry Clifton     Sep 28, 2011 in Politics
While the Solyndra money-pit scandal deepens and America teeters on the edge of a double-dip recession, Barack Hussein Obama is angrily selling his new half-trillion-dollar stimulus/jobs program.
But an increasing number of Americans are more focused on the looming costs of Obamacare than the unpopular president’s latest tax-and-spend proposals.
Meanwhile, emerging details of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that the Obama administration spent its first two years wooing a virtually veto-proof Democratic congress to pass behind closed doors are already causing health insurance rates to increase. A mandate that forces insurance companies to drop annual limits on how much they must pay is causing companies to raise rates on consumers in an effort to counteract the immediate costs of Obamacare. However, the more costly mandates, which a growing number of experts believe will dramatically increase health care costs, are set to kick in after the 2012 elections and in subsequent years.
Leading Republican presidential candidates have vowed, if elected, to begin dismantling Obamacare on their first day in office.
Meanwhile, federal court rulings have ruled Obamacare unconstitutional and the cases will likely be settled by the Supreme Court.
Obama recently sparked outrage from critics across the country by allowing unions and certain large companies to opt out of the system that he claims would be “affordable" and “protect” patients. Obama claims his health care act will reduce the deficit and make health care more affordable, but he has granted waivers of participation to 1,472 large unionized companies, and others, as of July, 2011. Unions received 50 percent of the waivers and are among Obama’s most strident and generous supporters, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union members only account for about 12% of the total workforce. Critics of Obamacare say union waiver favors are a quid pro quo for bundled campaign contributions and active campaign support they give Obama and other Democrat candidates each year.
According to Judicial Watch, unions helped write Obamacare and it is an abuse of government to exempt millions of union workers from the mandates of an unpopular and allegedly unconstitutional law that other Americans are forced to adhere to.
The Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Department has approved the last batch of 106 Obamacare waivers for three years, assuring those unionized companies and other affected entities that if re-elected Obama will be around to extend their exemptions.
Interestingly, of 435 congressional districts across the country, nearly 20 percent of the new waivers were granted to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s district. Pelosi, a liberal Democrat, was arguably the most ardent supporter of Obamacare and gaveled the law through before her party was trounced in the 2010 elections.
As leader of the Senate, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada wrestled Obamacare through the Senate largely behind closed doors. In return, Reid received an Obamacare waiver for the entire state of Nevada. Obama’s Health and Human Services Department gave Reid’s state a statewide waiver from certain implementation requirements of the costly health care bill, stating Obamacare "might lead to the destabilization of the individual market."
As critics predicted, internal documents reviewed by Congress indicate many large companies are considering the ramifications of dumping the health care coverage they provide to their workers and paying penalty fees to the government. If companies determine it is cost affective they may exit the system in mass and Obamacare could conceivably result in less patient protection and increased rates.
New taxes are embedded in Obamacare. For example, the first $250K of equity from the sale of a home is exempt but homeowners are taxed at 3.8 percent for every dollar after that.
Under Obamacare, everyone will be forced to purchase health insurance, but there is a controversial new 40-percent tax on existing premium healthcare plans effective in 2018. This new Obamacare tax will apply to insurance plans valued above $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families.
Under Obamacare, the employees’ portion of Hospital Insurance (HI) payroll taxes increases from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent for families making more than $250,000 a year ($200,000 for singles). This is a total rate increase of 3.8 percent when employers’ portion is included. The tax hike takes effect in 2013.
The new higher 3.8 percent HI tax also applies to investment income, including capital gains, dividends, rents, and royalties.
By 2016 the individual penalty for not complying with Obamacare mandates will reach up to $695 per person (for up to three people or $2,085 per household) or 2.5 percent of taxable income. Many healthy but uninsured individuals will now be forced to buy insurance plans or pay the fine, which constitutes a de facto tax increase.
Under Obamacare, Americans who file itemized deductions will be hit with a tax increase next year. Currently, taxpayers facing high medical expenses receive a deduction for medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income (AGI). Under Obamacare, Americans will not qualify for this itemized deduction until their medical expenses exeed 10 percent of their AGI, which amounts to a tax increase on sick Americans disguised as health care.
Unfortunately, like the war in Libya, the president never sought approval from the American people for Obamacare. It was passed behind closed doors - but the American people will step out from behind their doors and register their disapproval next year.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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