Posted July, 9 2012 by arianne

Have you seen this? There is a letter circulating from Michele Bachmann and 72 other tea party members of Congress urging all 50 state governors not to establish health insurance Exchanges.

 You can click here to read the letter.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions of course. Basically, the main argument used is that states should not implement health insurance exchanges because it will raise the cost of doing business there.

The letter states that “the law’s employer mandate assesses penalties – up to $3,000 per employee – only to businesses who don’t satisfy federally-approved health insurance standards and whose employees receive ‘premium assistance’ through the exchanges.”  That’s their italics on that one, not mine.  So, by their reasoning, not implementing an Exchange means that folks who need help buying insurance won’t be able to get premium assistance, which opens up a loophole for large employers not to have to pay the penalty.

I know what you’re thinking: “But won’t consumers still get premium assistance under a federal exchange then?”  Yes, of course.  But the good Congress-folks brush that off by claiming it violates the language of the ACA (no problems reading that 2,000 page bill these days, but let’s save this one for another day).

This argument really depends on how you look at it and what your priorities are.  Technically speaking, only large employers (with more than 50 employees) are subject to any penalties. If they don’t offer insurance at all, and have at least one full-time employee who gets premium assistance on the exchange, then they will have to pay $2,000 per full-time employee per year (excluding the first 30 employees).  If they do offer health insurance, but it’s crappy or too expensive and they have at least one full-time employee who gets premium assistance on the exchange, then they will have to pay the lesser of $3,000 per employee who is getting premium assistance, or $2,000 per full-time employee.  So, it’s not exactly a bank-breaker for big businesses here.  And small businesses actually get tax credits to help them pay for the cost of providing insurance.

But, on a moral level, good grief! Are they saying that a couple of little blips on big business profit margins are worth sacrificing the health and well-being of millions of working families? Really??? Well, if it’s sweatshops the tea party is looking to attract to our states then I suspect they may be fishing in the wrong pond.

Still, it brought to mind a recent article I read in the Onion where the Republican party teamed up with Leukemia (yes, the deadly form of cancer itself) to repeal the health care law.  Being the Onion it was of course a silly article.  But, after reading this letter, it made me think it may not be such a far cry after all…