Monthly Archives: August 2011

Dear NFIB: Obamacare works

Last month NFIB put out a useless bit of propaganda masquerading as a study that claimed Obamacare would force small business to drop their health insurance coverage.  On Twitter, I summed all that up by saying that the NFIB was putting out a fake study full of lies, and they replied, “The study was based on responses of real small-business owners – but don’t take our word for it,” so I did.

And what a load of hooey.

The president swore his health care overhaul wouldn’t cause any American to lose insurance coverage. Once again, that statement has been shown to be an empty promise. Some might even call it a lie.

Yes, of course.  It’s OK to say that the President has lied, but to accuse the NFIB of lying is out of bounds, even when their survey is contradicted by those stubborn things called facts.  The crux of their survey of small business owners is that a minority of small businesses plan to drop employee coverage.

While one in eight small businesses say they expect their employee plans will be eliminated, nearly one in five (19.6%) say they anticipate making “major changes” in their plans when they come up for renewal.

More than a third (35%) of those expecting to make changes said the shifts will include reduced benefits and greater financial contributions from their workers.

I don’t doubt that many small business people think that The problem with their survey is that it predicts behavior directly contradicted by what small businesses are now doing.

The noted liberal muckraking bastards at Forbes quoted a study by those pinko Commie bastards at Kaiser that real small businesses were adding coverage for their employees–and doing so voluntarily, well in advance of the 2014 mandatory deadline.  Apparently the tax incentives included Obamacare work.

How significant is the impact? While we won’t have full national numbers until small businesses file their 2010 tax returns this April, the anecdotal evidence is as meaningful as it is unexpected.

United Health Group, Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer, added 75,000 new customers working in businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Coventry Health Care, Inc., a large provider of health insurance to small businesses, added 115,000 new workers in 2010 representing an 8% jump.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest health insurer in the Kansas City, Mo. area, reports an astounding 58% increase in the number of small businesses purchasing coverage in their area since April, 2010-one month after the health care reform legislation became law.

The particularly galling aspect of this as it relates to the NFIB “study” is that these numbers were coming in January 2011, months before the study.  Either the sample of the opinion poll missed the actual behavior of small businesses entirely, or they were out to prove a point.

That’s the sham.  Here’s the wow.  Not only are small business increasing their health insurance coverage, but the Affordable Care Act is reducing the number of the uninsured.

And they are precisely the uninsured that we want– the young people who tend not to get sick.

The provision of the law that permits young adults under 26, long the largest uninsured demographic in the country, to remain on their parents’ health insurance program resulted in at least 600,000 newly insured Americans during the first quarter of 2011.

Wellpoint, the nation’s largest publicly traded health insurer with some 34 million customers, reports adding 280,000 new members in the first three months of 2011.

Add in the results of some of the other large health insurers including Aetna, who added just short of 100,000 newly insured to their customer base, Kaiser Permanente’s additional 90,000, and Highmark’s 72,000 new customers, and we begin to sense our health insurance pools are filling up with some badly needed young blood.

The Health & Human Services Department had estimated that the changes in the law would result in about 1.2 million new enrollees in 2011. However, according to Aaron Smith, the executive director of a Washington based non-profit that advocates for the young, it now looks as if that number will be exceeded.

Obamacare is working, despite what politically conservative groups would have us believe. Obama’s not lying. He’s right.

Richard Ungar of Forbes, who has been beating this drum all year, deserves the last word:

If you’re all about beating up on President Obama, you can conveniently forget this bit of data as if it never really happened. However, if your interest is to make health care available to more Americans, this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs.