The Edmond Sun

Opinion

November 7, 2013

The healthcare law’s frightening information void

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Halloween’s over, but small-business owners trying to navigate the new federal health care law feel like they’re trapped in a haunted house where something scary lurks behind every door.

Even before the Affordable Care Act’s online enrollment system dropped dead on arrival, Main Street entrepreneurs had grown fearful that they will be the main victims of an overly ambitious scheme certain to hamper job growth, damage employee morale and drive the cost of health care even further out of reach.

As expected, they’re now facing compliance with a rickety, untested and expensive government monstrosity that depends on luck, politics and heavy-handed enforcement to succeed. Getting accurate information from government sources is no easy task. Yet it is crucial that those who own and operate the nation’s small enterprises prepare themselves for more frightful ACA ogres to appear around the next corner.

To aid small businesses in understanding the new law, the National Federation of Independent Business has created several online resources to guide owners through the fog of new taxes, penalties and regulations. A preview of what’s looming ahead can be found in “Understanding the New Healthcare Law” at NFIB.com.

Available advisories include the NFIB Healthcare Playbook, a step-by-step guide to the law’s provisions. This manual offers critical details about minimum essential coverage and the individual mandate tax, employer mandate penalties, changes in the individual and small-group marketplaces, essential health benefits and dependent coverage.

Also described are tax issues, such as temporary credits, flexible spending accounts, Medicare payroll tax increases and expense deduction limits. Compliance requirements such as W-2 reporting, benefits and coverage summaries, and paperwork demands are covered too.

Some small-business owners may qualify for cost-sharing subsidies based on income. To determine eligibility, NFIB’s new Health Insurance Exchange features a hassle-free subsidy calculator.

One major shock that entrepreneurs got early in the push for this law has been resolved. The government sought to require businesses to complete IRS Form 1099s for every business-to-business transaction of at least $600. Simply a ruse to snag additional tax revenue to implement the law, the result would have been yet another drag on small-business productivity and growth.

NFIB, along with other business organizations, waged a successful fight and repealed the ploy. But it was a costly battle that unnecessarily pulled small-business owners away from managing their operations, further weakening the already sluggish economy.

Many more onerous provisions are being challenged. For example, when stitching the law together, uninformed policymakers with scant understanding about business and free enterprise arbitrarily decided to label full-time employees as those who work as few as 30 hours a week. This threshold has already forced some employers to halt hiring and reduce workers’ hours. It will no doubt add more paperwork burdens on top of existing federal, state and local regulations if not removed.

This struggle is not for the fainthearted. But until small business’ goal of affordable health care is realized, NFIB’s opposition to this or any other ill-conceived federal plan will be strong and unending.

 

DAN DANNER represent the National Federation of Independent Business, 1201 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004, United States.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014

  • Putting Oklahoma parents in charge

    Oklahoma’s public schools serve many children very well. Still, for various reasons, some students’ needs are better met in private schools, in virtual schools or elsewhere. That is why two state lawmakers have introduced legislation to give parents debit cards, literally, to shop for the educational services that work best for their children.

    April 11, 2014

  • Israelis, Palestinians are losing their chance

    Developments in the Middle East suggest that prospects of success for the Israeli-Palestinian talks, to which Secretary of State John Kerry has devoted countless hours and trips, are weakening.

    April 11, 2014

  • Teens might trade naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 11, 2014

  • Tax deadline and no reform in sight

    The annual tax filing deadline, which comes next Tuesday, provides a good opportunity for tax reform advocates to decry the current law’s increasing complexity and inequities, and to urge enactment of a simpler, fairer system.

    April 10, 2014

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 8, 2014

Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results