A recent Gallup poll revealed that 47 percent of Americans—a plurality—support repeal of Obamacare. While the reasons for the law’s unpopularity are limitless, its broken CLASS program and unsuccessful small business tax credit may play a role.
A few weeks ago, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would halt implementation of the CLASS program, the government-run long-term care program created by the health care law, since it was unsustainable and unworkable. This put CLASS on life support, but since it isn’t dead yet, its repeal is crucial.
Earlier this week, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee moved legislation by Representative Charles Boustany (R–LA) one step closer to the President’s desk to repeal the CLASS Act.
In addition, Boustany, who is also chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, called a hearing to highlight another unattractive part of Obamacare: the implementation of the small business tax credit and its effectiveness at reducing health care costs for employers.
The small business tax credit was intended to make it easier for small businesses to offer health insurance to their employees, but overall, its impact will not be as positive as the left has led Americans to believe. As Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association, testified, the complexity to apply and determine eligibility is just one of the reasons the tax credit fails to live up to the needs of small business owners:
Business owners have to calculate their average annual wage, figure out the premiums they paid for eligible employees, figure out the average premium for the small group market in which they offered health insurance coverage, deal with various phase-outs and limitations that start at 10 employees or more and figure out their full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) in order to determine eligibility and then seven worksheets must be completed in association with claiming the credit.
In his research, Dr. Bob Graboyes, a senior fellow for health and economics at the National Federation of Independent Business, explains the rest of the credit’s flaws. First, relatively few firms will qualify for the credit. In fact, he writes, “No more than 1 to 2 million out of the country’s 6 million small businesses would qualify for any credit at all.” Fewer still will receive the full value of the credit, since it decreases with a rising number of employees and rising average salary.
The unappetizing icing on the cake is that the credit provides no permanent solutions, since it will be in effect for only six years. The credit completely expires in 2016.
As McCracken put it, “Tax credits are neither the cure-all for small businesses’ health insurance woes nor a replacement for good policies on cost-containment that make health care more affordable.” Instead, the small business tax credit, just like the soon-to-be-deceased CLASS Act, is proving to be another yet another failure of President Obama’s health care law.