ATLANTA -- The Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus says many of the Affordable Care Act's most damaging aspects are still to come and are projected to kill at least 146,000 jobs and force millions of Americans who kept their health insurance to pay much higher premiums.
In an editorial published this week in The Wall Street Journal, Marcus says, "President Obama's promise that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it was the most infamous of the Affordable Care Act's sketchy sales pitches. But many of the law's most damaging aspects are less known, buried in thousands of pages of regulations."
Says Marcus, "Consider the 'fee' -- really a hidden sales tax -- that all health-insurance companies have been forced to pay since the first of this year on premiums for policies sold to individuals and small and medium-size businesses."
Marcus adds that the "health-insurance tax -- known as HIT in business circles" is expected to generate revenues of about $8 billion this year and as much as $14.3 billion by 2018, according to the legislation.
He said the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation predict that insurance companies will pass the cost on to customers. "In other words," says Marcus, "millions of Americans lucky enough to keep their current health insurance under ObamaCare will be paying much higher premiums because of this tax, with the added cost rippling through the economy and stifling job creation."
Marcus writes, "The National Federation of Independent Businesses projects the health-insurance tax will add an additional $475 per year for the average individually purchased family policy -- nearly $5,000 over the course of a decade. Small businesses will take an even bigger hit, with the cost of an employer-provided family policy rising a projected $6,800 in the next decade."
He notes that since most large companies self-insure, they aren't affected by the new tax. "But smaller- and medium-size businesses don't have that luxury and will bear the brunt of the tax," Marcus said, adding "Many will be forced to raise their employees' share of premium payments or, worse, lay off workers to pay the escalating costs of health care for their core employees."
Marcus continued, "The NFIB projects private-sector employment through 2022 will be reduced by at least 146,000 jobs because of the health-insurance tax, and perhaps as much as 262,000 jobs. That's like vaporizing some of the largest employers in the country. Just the low-end estimate -- 146,000 jobs -- is still more than the total number of employees currently working for companies like Costco, Microsoft and Delta Air Lines."