On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Don Young voted on a bill to give President Obama the authority to delay, by a year, the employer health care mandate portion of Obamacare. The mandate was to go into effect in 2014, and would have required businesses that employ more than 50 full-time workers to provide affordable insurance, or else be subject to a fine.
This doesn’t mean that Young approves of Obamacare. Young, who has for more than four decades been the beneficiary of some of the best tax funded health care available, has been one of the bill’s staunchest critics. In a release on Tuesday, he called it “one of the worst bills Congress has ever passed,” and promised to continue to advocate for full repeal.
Many critics of Obamacare crowed after the administration announced the delay in the mandate. Others, however, saw a greater game at work, one that could ultimate strengthen the program.
Now that employer mandates are off the table, at least temporarily, the thought is that people are increasingly going to be signing up for individual coverage. Such coverage was always available to the individual, but often times it was too costly, overly burdensome to get, and many were denied due to pre-existing conditions. However, insurance exchanges, one of the key provisions of Obamacare, are still set to be up and running by the end of this year, and individual coverage could be cheaper and easier to get under those exchanges.
Recently, California announced that such exchanges could cut rates for individual insurance by up 29 percent for some consumers. And on Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New Yorkers who buy individual policies will most likely see their premiums cut by half in 2014.
Beginning in October, individuals in New York City who now pay $1,000 a month or more for coverage will be able to buy that plan for as little as $308 monthly. The costs could be lower with federal subsidies.
That consumers might find individual health care insurance affordable makes Obamacare foes nervous. The public, once it tries it, actually might like it. They might actually be able to afford the kind of insurance that state and federal officials get. Such a notion is anathema to many, including Young and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, as well as other Republican governors. Parnell, among others, has refused to help set up those exchanges. The feds are doing it for Alaska, no matter that if the state cooperated, the exchanges would be better for residents.
Apparently, Parnell and others would leave uninsured Alaskans uninsured in the hopes that they can force Obamacare to fail.
Some Republican governors however, seem to have the health of their residents more in mind than partisanship. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for example, said that he’s not fighting Obamacare because it was in the best interest of New Jersey for its residents to have access to affordable healthcare.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org