small businesses

Senate Republicans ask White House to “permanently delay” ObamaCare

A little more than a week after the Treasury Department announced that it would delay the employer mandate and reports of further problems with implemention, Senate Republicans sent a letter to the White House yesterday asking that President Obama “permanently delay” ObamaCare for all Americans.

“We write to express concern that in your recent decision to delay implementation of the employer mandate, you have unilaterally acted and failed to work with Congress on such a significant decision,” said Senate Republicans in letter signed by all 45 members party’s caucus. “Further, while your action finally acknowledges some of the many burdens this law will place on job creators, we believe the rest of this law should be permanently delayed for everyone in order to avoid significant economic harm to American families.”

“In response to questions about the administration’s decision, your senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said, ‘We are listening,’ while referring to the concerns of the business community over the onerous employer mandate that will result in fewer jobs and employees working fewer hours,” they continued. “We have been listening as well, and as more employers have attempted to understand your burdensome requirements in the Affordable Care Act, the louder their outrage has become.”

Investigative Reporters Tackle the Small Business Administration

Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

When it comes to reporting on the Small Business Administration, it seems to me that most journalists simply assume that if a government agency exists to “help” small businesses then it must be good. So I was pleased to read a weekend piece from two investigative journalists with the Dayton Daily News that challenges the conventional wisdom on the SBA.

As the reporters explain, the SBA’s main job is to back loans issued by private lenders to small businesses that couldn’t get financing on market terms. The result is that taxpayers end up holding the bag when these naturally riskier loans go bad.

And quite a few go bad as this Cato essay on the Small Business Administration explains.

Lenders have little skin in the game so for them it’s heads they win, tails they win. Thus it was shocking – absolutely shocking – that a representative from the SBA and the head of the Ohio Bankers Association provided the reporters with the most favorable quotes.

The entire piece is worth reading, but the authors did a particularly good job of turning the spotlight on the racket that exists between the SBA, lenders, and national franchisors:

Obama: You didn’t build your business

Obama

President Obama has been accused of conducting class warfare.  His supporters, obviously, disagree.  They see Obama merely as fighting for the rights of the lower and middle classes against the all-powerful wealthy.  However, this latest quote from the president takes a shot that may just go astray:

If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.

Yes.  He really said that.

However, let’s look at the whole context:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

End Ex-Im: Newt Gingrich says the crony Bank favors “giant companies,” and he’s absolutely right

During a brief chat with the Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) said that Congress shouldn’t reauthorize the crony Export-Import Bank in its “current form.”

“I think [Congress] should look very critically at it. Personally, I think the way its currently structured, it favors giant companies and doesn’t help small business at all,” said Gingrich. “So, in its current form, I think it should not be reauthorized.”

When asked whether Republicans should compromise with Democrats to reform Ex-Im if they don’t get enough votes to end it, Gingrich explained that Congress is under no obligation to reauthorize the Bank.

Republicans Didn’t Expand Obamacare

Drudge headline

Since when is repealing an Obamacare mandate met with such criticism from the Right?  This is the question I have been asking since last week’s passage of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 led to a Drudge Report headline implying Republican collusion to “improve” the fatally flawed law.

The Obamacare mandate at issue was a cap on the deductibles for small employer group health plans offered in and out of the SHOP exchange. The SHOP exchange is the Obamacare exchange for small employers and, inexplicably, congressional staff.

PPACA Section 1302(c):

(2) ANNUAL LIMITATION ON DEDUCTIBLES FOR EMPLOYER-SPONSORED PLANS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—In the case of a health plan offered in the small group market, the deductible under the plan shall not exceed—

(i) $2,000 in the case of a plan covering a single individual; and

(ii) $4,000 in the case of any other plan.

As with so many Obamacare provisions, this mandate was poorly conceived.  For one, it was essentially impossible for a Bronze plan to comply because of other competing mandates to cover essential health benefits and conform the actuarial value to the required 60% of medical expenses covered by the plan.  A study by HealthPocket found that 96% of Bronze plans in the SHOP exchange have deductibles exceeding the $2,000/$4,000 cap.

Report predicts higher health premiums for 65% of small businesses

The actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicts that Obamacare will lead to higher health insurance premiums for 65% of small businesses, affecting some 11 million employees:

The report, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary, is the latest piece of bad news for the president’s signature domestic achievement. While the law was designed to curb rising health costs, some consumers have seen their premiums or other out-of-pocket costs increase this year, or had their plans canceled altogether.

The report analyzed employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees that buy outside insurance policies for workers, a group it estimated at 17 million people in 2012. It focused on a piece of the 2010 law that prevents insurance companies from pricing policies based on customers’ health status.
[…]
The report concluded that about 65% of small businesses, or plans covering 11 million people, would see an increase in insurance premiums under these so-called community-rating provisions of the health law. About 35% of employers would see a decrease for plans covering six million people. These employers aren’t required to pay a penalty under the federal health law if they don’t insure workers.

These premium hikes have been mostly tied to the individual market, but most don’t realize that small-to-large businesses as well as their employees are also going to be hit with higher costs.

Today in Liberty: Protest against government surveillance, Obamacare hitting small businesses

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” — George Orwell

— Internet-wide protest against government surveillance: Some of the most well-known tech firms and civil liberties organizations will participate tomorrow in “The Day We Fight Back,” an Internet-wide protest against government surveillance, hoping to replicate the success of protests two years ago against SOPA and PIPA. Organizers are also dedicating the event to Aaron Swartz, an online activist who committed suicide last year. He was facing federal charges at the time of his death. More than 4,500 websites are expected to participate in the protest, according to The Hill.

— Hardly any Democrat wants to campaign with Obama: Politico reports this morning that only a handful of Democrats running in races across the country gave an “unequivocal ‘yes’” when asked if they would campaign with President Obama.

WaPo: Get ready for another round of health plan cancellations

Coming off a political firestorm over millions of canceled health plans caused by Obamacare regulations, the Obama Administration could have another headache on its hands with yet another round termination letters that are slated to be sent out later this year.

Debunking the narrative that the health plan cancellations that have occurred affect only the small number of Americans who buy coverage on the individual market, Washington Post noted yesterday that this next round of cancellations will impact Americans who have coverage through a small business:

While some cancellation notices already have gone out, insurers say the bulk of the letters will be sent in October, shortly before the next open-enrollment period begins. The timing — right before the midterm elections — could be difficult for Democrats who are already fending off Republican attacks about the Affordable Care Act and its troubled rollout.

AR Senate: Ad urges Pryor to listen to small business’ concerns over Obamacare

 Obamacare Hurts Arkansas Small Business

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has released a new ad in Arkansas featuring a family-owned small business trying to cope with added healthcare costs that have come along because of Obamacare.

“We’re a small business that has been part of the Central Arkansas community for four generations,” said John Parke, Chief Operating Officer of Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company. “Our employees are the backbone of our business.”

“What Obamacare means for Arkansas businesses is tough choices — the mandates, the increased costs, the increased taxes. Our premiums are increasing 19% for next year. Arkansans are counting on Washington to do the right thing. But we keep getting more empty promises,” he added.

The ad urges voters to call Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and tell him that “Obamacare is broken” and to “stand up for Arkansas’ small businesses and workers.” The NFIB is spending $550,000 to, according to a statement on the ad, “educate Arkansans on the difficulties faced by small businesses due to Obamacare’s many failures, broken promises and increased uncertainty.”

Administration delays small business exchange until late 2014

The Obama Administration has a knack for trying to bury big news just before major holidays in hopes that Americans won’t be paying too much attention to notice. For example, the delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate was announced in a blog post on the Treasury Department’s website just before the Independence Day holiday this summer.

The latest example of this shady, though commonly used tactic came just last week, the day before Thanksgiving, when the administration announced that the federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), the Obamacare exchange for small employers, would be delayed until the next open enrollment period late next year:

The Obama administration on Wednesday announced a one-year delay in a major element of the new health care law that would allow small businesses to buy insurance online for their employees through the new federal marketplace.

It was yet another setback for the rollout of the health care law and resulted, in part, from the well-documented problems of the insurance marketplace website. Administration officials said they had to focus on the basic functions of the website, so that individuals could shop for insurance, before offering online enrollment for small businesses. In the meantime, businesses and their employees can apply through brokers.
[…]
It was not the first delay for small businesses. The administration had previously delayed online enrollment for them to the end of this month from Oct. 1.


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