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Checking Huelskamp's facts

Published on -6/25/2013, 1:58 PM

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Checking Huelskamp's facts

In his June 19 column, Congressman Tim Huelskamp claims the Affordable Healthcare Act has "more than 20,000 pages of new regulations coming next January."

This May, Washington Post fact-checkers looked. Mitch McConnell had promoted the claim after searching the Federal Register for Affordable Care Act and finding 897 documents.

McConnell's spokesman later had to admit not all the documents were entirely on "Obamacare." There were final rules and proposed rules, notices for new funding or committee meetings, news releases and pages of public comments.

Calling it "a muddle," the Post concluded, "At the very least, one can point to 10,000 pages of tiny regulatory type regarding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Frankly, this is to be expected in any large and complex governmental undertaking." (tinyurl.com/k9ob8z6)

More importantly, Huelskamp doesn't know or would rather not tell readers that it's not really businesses with 50 employees, but businesses with 50 "full-time" employees who must provide health insurance -- a significant distinction.

Furthermore, Forbes Magazine found only 4 percent of U.S. businesses have 50 or more full-time employees, and 99.8 percent of them already provide employee health insurance. The real question is whether employers will pay more. We'll see.

Whatever the case, Forbes says "Obamacare" will not "wreak havoc" on small businesses Huelskamp and others charge. In fact, it may "paint a brighter picture for the future of American small businesses and startups" -- and their employees. (tinyurl.com/yu7dqb)

Finally, the Henry J. Kaiser Health Foundation offers an online calculator working families can use to estimate what health insurance might cost them if the employer doesn't provide it. (tinyurl.com/coqcdog)

I tried this example: Both parents are over 21. Two children under 20. No smokers. Annual income $35,000. Estimated total premium, $9,869.

But ... that family is eligible for a subsidy and could wind up paying less than $1,400 annually for the "silver" plan. (The bronze plan costs less, the gold plan more.)

The numbers are averages, and would vary from state to state depending on the health exchanges in place.

The biggest problem in our medical system remains: too many for-profit middle-men. U.S. health care costs twice as much on average as other developed countries for mostly average results. There's still work to do.

Bob Hooper

Bogue

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