To get the moral of the story out of the way first, don’t lie and don’t bully. It’ll catch up with you eventually.
The Department of Health and Human Services projected that between 9 and 9.9 million people would enroll in Obamacare plans next year, well short of the 13 million predicted by the independent Congressional Budget Office. Just a few days later, administration officials admitted they inflated sign-up figures for Obamacare in 2014, including dental plans, to pad the numbers by 400,000 — allowing the administration to meet its original goal of enrolling 7 million consumers.
Care to read that again? Last year, they cooked the books; now they admit it. And that fraud (a 5.7% shortfall) is nothing compared to the fraud already admitted for next year (a 25-30% shortfall). Did you know that? I didn’t.
No wonder, then:
The fallout from the November blunders was hard to ignore. When the administration trumpeted that roughly 460,000 people had signed up for 2015 Obamacare coverage in the first week of open enrollment, the announcement was immediately met with suspicion.
Leading U.S. CEOs, angered by the Obama administration’s challenge to certain “workplace wellness” programs, are threatening to side with anti-Obamacare forces unless the government backs off, according to people familiar with the matter.
Major U.S. corporations have broadly supported President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform despite concerns over several of its elements, largely because it included provisions encouraging the wellness programs.
The programs aim to control healthcare costs by reducing smoking, obesity, hypertension and other risk factors that can lead to expensive illnesses. A bipartisan provision in the 2010 healthcare reform law allows employers to reward workers who participate and penalize those who don’t.
Got that? “Penalize.” Harm someone for not marching in step like a good little foot soldier. Kind of like the individual mandate—an unconstitutional affront until it was transvestized into a tax.
But like it or not, it’s part of the law (of the land).
But recent lawsuits filed by the administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), challenging the programs at Honeywell International and two smaller companies, have thrown the future of that part of Obamacare into doubt.
The lawsuits infuriated some large employers so much that they are considering aligning themselves with Obama’s opponents, according to people familiar with the executives’ thinking.
“The fact that the EEOC sued is shocking to our members,” said Maria Ghazal, vice-president and counsel at the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives of more than 200 large U.S. corporations. “They don’t understand why a plan in compliance with the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is the target of a lawsuit,” she said. “This is a major issue to our members.”
Have your members never seen Goodfellas or The Sopranos? You don’t want these people as your partners. They’ll bleed you dry.
Obamacare allows financial incentives for workers taking part in workplace wellness programs of up to 50 percent of their monthly premiums, deductibles, and other costs. That translates into hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in extra annual costs for those who do not participate.
Typically, participation means filling out detailed health questionnaires, undergoing medical screenings, and in some cases attending weight-loss or smoking-cessation programs.
One of the arguments presented in the lawsuit against three employers is that requiring medical testing violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
That 1990 law, according to employment-law attorney Joseph Lazzarotti of Jackson Lewis P.C. in Morristown, N.J., largely prohibits requiring medical tests as part of employment.
“You can’t make medical inquiries unless it’s consistent with job-necessity, or part of a voluntary wellness program,” he said.
The lawsuits are based on the view that it is no longer voluntary if employees face up to $4,000 in penalties for non-participation, loss of insurance or even their jobs.
Employers, however, see the lawsuits as reneging on the administration’s commitment to an important part of the healthcare reform.
If it violates ADA, what was it doing in the [bleeping] law? Did no one think to ask? Of course they did, but Nancy “The Bull” Pelosi gave away the game: we had to pass the “law” to find out what was in it.
The law itself is godawful enough. The process by which it passed was truly the work of Satan. No good could ever come of it. Just strife, chaos, mayhem, hellfire, brimstone, and Supreme Court appeals. All according to schedule.