What Obamacare means to you

You must buy health insurance or pay a fine

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling upheld the individual mandate in Obamacare, which means that everyone must buy health insurance. If you do not buy insurance, you will have to pay a fine starting in 2014. By 2016, a family of four will be fined or “taxed” either

  1. the market rate of a standard insurance premium, or
  2. the greater of $2,085 or 2.5% of household income. 1

In other words, the government is requiring that you purchase something, even if you do not want to. This sets a dangerous precedent for the future, because the government can use this method to require other actions it deems necessary.

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You could pay higher insurance premiums or lose your current coverage

Because Obamacare requires the expansion of many health plans to cover more services, insurance premiums are certain to increase. In addition, Obamacare will create a bad business environment for many insurance providers, causing them to stop providing coverage altogether. Also, some businesses will determine they can no longer afford to offer health care to their employees. According to McKinsey & Company, 30% of employers will “definitely or probably” stop offering health insurance coverage after 2014. 2

For instance, companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar, and John Deere have conducted internal studies to determine the cost of keeping coverage. 3 One congressional report found that Fortune 100 companies could save an average of $4,821 per employee in 2014 alone if they eliminated health insurance and paid the fine. 4 This strain placed on both providers and employers could cause you to lose your employer-provided health care and force you into a government Exchange.

You may lose your current doctor

If your current insurance plan is discontinued because your employer stops offering health care coverage, or it is discontinued because it is not compliant with Obamacare regulations, it is possible that you will no longer have access to your current doctor through a new insurance plan. You may also find that your doctor becomes so discouraged with the red tape, regulation, and rules forced on him or her by Obamacare, that he or she decides to stop practicing medicine. In a recent poll, 83% of doctors who responded said that they have considered quitting medicine in light of current changes in the medical system. 5

If you are an employer, you must provide free access to contraceptives and abortion-causing products for your employees

The religious freedom of thousands of employers will be violated by regulations in the wake of Obamacare. Unless you meet the government’s very narrow exemption, if you own or manage a business that employs 50 or more people, you will be forced to provide health care coverage that includes free access to contraceptives and abortion-causing products. 6 This violation of religious freedom was not contained in the Obamacare legislation itself, but the law gave the administration authority to make this regulation.

The regulation cannot be overturned unless Obamacare is repealed by Congress, or unless Congress passes a law specifically forbidding it. Employers who refuse to comply with this regulation because of their Christian faith will face an expensive fine. 7

Your insurance premiums will help pay for services that violate your religious convictions

Under Obamacare, your insurance plan is required to use part of your premiums to provide contraceptives and abortion-causing products, even if you have religious objections to it. Since the law’s passage, the Obama administration has failed to adequately address these religious objections. You are required to have health care coverage, and the coverage is required to include these services. 8

Your taxes will increase

In addition to the taxes assessed by the individual mandate, other tax increases are necessary to pay for Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, because of Obamacare, American taxpayers will pay an additional $770 billion in taxes over the 2012-2021 period. 9

For instance, Obamacare imposes a 10% tax on tanning sessions, a tax on the pharmaceutical industry, and a 2.3% tax on medical devices, which will increase the price to patients for such things as pacemakers, prosthetic limbs, stents, and operation tables. 10 There is also now a cap of $2,500 on flexible spending accounts, which are tax-free savings accounts that can be used to pay medical expenses. 11

In addition, Obamacare will raise the threshold for itemized deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses from 7.5% to 10% beginning in 2013. 12 Also, Obamacare stipulates that all families earning above $250,000 must pay an additional 3.8% in taxes for gains on their investments and a 0.9% increase on the Medicare Payroll tax. 13 Obamacare’s extensive tax increases guarantee that you, along with every American, will personally feel the financial burden.

You will be required to contribute to an abortion fund with certain health care plans

Beginning in 2014, many who purchase private insurance from a government-run Exchange will be required to pay a premium into a separate account that funds elective abortions, apart from their primary insurance premium. 14 This arrangement has been made in an attempt to circumvent the ban on federally funded abortions. Though at least one plan will be offered that does not cover abortions, you may be forced to choose between a plan that does not adequately meet your health needs and a plan that requires you to pay into an abortion fund.

You could be denied life-saving treatment by insurance providers, especially in old age

Obamacare opens the door to rationing of health care. This law creates the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is tasked with recommending limits on Medicare spending and non-federal health care programs. 15 The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) then has the ability to implement the board’s recommendations. This scheme gives HHS the ability to incentivize doctors to drastically cut costs in order to retain their contracts with Medicare or other providers. Unless this problem is addressed by Congress, it will likely lead to a situation in which a patient is denied life-saving treatment because a doctor was compelled to value cost-cutting over the patient’s best interests.

What You Can Do

It is important for you to support better solutions to our country’s health care problems Christians need to be advocates of health care reform that promotes affordable, high quality, and universal health care consistent with biblical convictions. While as Christians we may disagree with many aspects of Obamacare, we do affirm that our health care system is broken and in need of a solution. It is not enough just to be against Obamacare. We must also be for a more reasonable, constitutional, and compassionate solution to our health care needs.

For a resource outlining free-market health care principles, please refer to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s Fifteen Principles for Successful Health Care Reform.

  1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended Through May 1, 2010. Sec. 15015000A IRC ©(2)(B)(iii) ↩
  2. How U.S. Health Care Reform Will Affect Employee Benefits. June 2011.McKinsey Quarterly. ↩
  3. Documents reveal AT&T, Verizon, others, thought about dropping employer-sponsored benefits. May 6, 2010. CNN Money. ↩
  4. “Broken Promise.” May 1, 2012. U.S. House of Representatives. ↩
  5. Physician Attitudes in Medicine Survey Results. Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation. ↩
  6. Federal Register. Vol. 77, No. 31(8727-8729) ↩
  7. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended Through May 1, 2010. Sec. 15134980H IRC ©(2)(D) ↩
  8. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended Through May 1, 2010. Sec. 10012713 PHSA (a) ↩
  9. Additional Information of CBO’s Preliminary Analysis of H.R. 2. Jan 7, 2011. ↩
  10. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended Through May 1, 2010. Sec. 90094191 IRC (a); Ibid., Sec. 109085000B IRC (a); Ibid., Sec. 9008 (a); Five Major ObamaCare taxes that will hit your wallet in 2013. July 5, 2012. Fox News. ↩
  11. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended Through May 1, 2010. Sec. 9005 (a)125 IRC (i)(1) ↩
  12. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended Through May 1, 2010. Sec. 9013 (a) ↩
  13. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended Through May 1, 2010. Sec. 14021411 IRC (a)(1); Ibid., Sec. 9015 (a)(2) ↩
  14. Federal Register. Vol. 77, No. 59(18472) ↩
  15. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as Amended Through May 1, 2010. Sec. 34031899A SSA (b); Ibid., Sec. 34031899A SSA (o) ↩
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