Typical rhetoric is coming from the Left and the Right today as President Donald Trump announces changes to regulations in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act commonly called Obamacare.
Rhetoric aside, many who are self-employed may be wondering whether the changes will help them. What changes will be made and how will they impact you?
Thus far, it appears the changes will benefit, among others, those who are self-employed or those who work for small companies. The regulations remain open to interpretation largely because of the ambiguities in the original legislation. That’s no surprise—the bill set a stunning precedent for the Supreme Court to rewrite the US government’s argument in an effort to get the original bill deemed constitutional.
What may be a surprise involves the potential for real competition in the marketplace.
I’ve personally talked to many who are self-employed in different disciplines. I haven’t met a single individual who opted to purchase health insurance. Instead, those I talked to decided to pay the tax (still improperly called a “penalty” in the original legislation) for not purchasing insurance.
While many below the poverty level have no doubt been helped by the law, many who earned a little too much for subsidies have been harmed by it. Premiums continue to rise as do deductibles and co-pays. Despite the fact the bill was chock full of new taxes, reportedly one of the largest tax hikes in US history, those taxes appear to not fully fund the bill over time. One reason involves repeals—both Democrats and Republicans agreed on repealing some of the taxes.
A long list of other taxes remained, kicking in over a period of years.
As American consumers who pay for insurance in full or in part through their employers faced more premium hikes, Congress dropped the ball on any kind of reform.
Trump followed President Barack Obama’s strategy in using executive powers on controversial issues, with Trump hoping to broaden choices and expand markets. The president aims to permit purchasing insurance across state lines, a practice most agree would boost competition and lower prices.
Trump’s approach will also increase choices for consumers, with the young and healthy likely benefiting the most. Low cost plans, for example, might conceivably cover hospitalizations or catastrophic illness while leaving the cost of routine care up to the individual. Small businesses will be permitted to form associations for the purpose of purchasing insurance. How this might be interpreted for proprietorships is unknown at present, but technically a proprietorship is a small business.
The White House has placed two updates online.
One explains the pitfalls of PPACA if nothing is done.
The other update comprises Trump’s remarks about changes to PPACA.
PPACA has been heading for serious trouble for quite some time, even before Trump took office. Left of center publications like The New York Times were forced to acknowledge that when Obama still held the White House.
Both Democrats and Republicans have known for years mounting problems with PPACA would need to be addressed. One issue related to requirements PPACA established for policies, leaving little to choices by the consumer or insurers.
I think the changes will benefit those who work in the arts fulltime and those who work for small businesses with less than 50 employees.
It’s early yet, and regulators will have a hand in the matter. But the bottom line is that I think for the arts community, the changes will be a good thing.
(Kay B. Day/Oct. 12, 2017)