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Healthcare bill causes companies to evaluate dumping coverage

reefedjib

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This is just lovely and so unexpected! We got a real winner here folks!

EarthLink - Top News

Employer health benefits have been a middle-class mainstay since World War II, when companies were encouraged to offer health insurance instead of pay raises. About 150 million workers and family members are now covered.

When lawmakers debated the legislation, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected it would only have minimal impact on employer plans. About 3 million fewer people would be covered through the job, but they'd be able to get insurance elsewhere.

Two provisions in the new law are leading companies to look at their plans in a different light.

One is a hefty tax on high-cost health insurance aimed at the most generous coverage. Although the "Cadillac tax" doesn't hit until 2018, companies may have to disclose their exposure to investors well before that. Karen Forte, a Boeing spokeswoman, said concerns about the tax were partly behind a 50 percent increase in insurance deductibles the company just announced.

The tax is 40 percent of the value of a plan above $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for a family plan. Family coverage now averages about $13,800.

White House adviser Furman said blaming a cost increase next year on a tax that won't take effect for eight years "stretches credibility very far past the breaking point."

Bigger questions loom over the new insurance markets that will be set up under the law.

They're called exchanges, and every state will have one in a few years. Consumers will be able to shop for coverage among a range of plans in the exchange, with a guarantee they can't be turned down because of an existing medical problem. To help make premiums affordable, the law provides tax credits for households making up to four times the federal poverty level, about $88,000 for a family of four.

Bredesen said last week that employers could save big money by dropping their health plans and sending workers to buy coverage in the exchange. They'd face a fine of $2,000 per worker, but that's still way less than the cost of providing health insurance. Employers could even afford to give workers a raise and still come out ahead, Bredesen wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Employers are actively looking at that. "I don't know if the intent was to find an exit strategy for providing benefits, but the bill as written provides the mechanism," said Deloitte's Keckley, the consultant.
 

Whovian

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we got a letter a few weeks ago, stating that while no changes were 'currently' being planned, they could make changes next year... depending on how their internal study of the new law goes.
 

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This is just lovely and so unexpected! We got a real winner here folks!

EarthLink - Top News

I think what this article fails to take into account is that the very reason they provide a health insurance plan is to attract good employees. Pawning them off onto exchanges would result in a cut in those benefits and effectively cut their employees' salaries. Not a good way to either attract or retain good people.
 

SgtRock

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My company has informed us that our insurance will most likely be dropped this year do to an increase in cost. My company has offered health insurance to its employees since it formed in 1956.
 

reefedjib

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I think what this article fails to take into account is that the very reason they provide a health insurance plan is to attract good employees. Pawning them off onto exchanges would result in a cut in those benefits and effectively cut their employees' salaries. Not a good way to either attract or retain good people.

Maggie, the article does actually cover this point:

Another wrinkle: the health insurance tax credits available through the law are keyed to relatively Spartan insurance plans, not as generous as most big employers provide. Send your workers into the insurance exchange, and valuable employees might jump to a competitor that still offers health care.
 

Kandahar

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A few things here:

1. Health insurance premiums have been going up, and health insurance benefits have been declining (or disappearing altogether), for years before the health care reform law took effect. Is there any evidence it has accelerated since the passage of the law? The law which hasn't taken effect yet?

2. The so-called "Cadillac Tax" on expensive health insurance policies was a freaking REPUBLICAN idea (and a sensible one, I might add). Or at least, it was a Republican idea until the Democrats put it into the health care bill, and then suddenly all the Republicans in Congress opposed it. Purely out of principle, I'm sure.

3. The White House is absolutely right that it isn't credible that businesses would already be planning to drop coverage because of a tax that won't hit them at all until 2018. A lot can change in that length of time, including A) Congress changes or delays the tax, or B) less comprehensive health care plans become available for a reasonable price. Furthermore, the time-value of money is such that any expenses 8 years out are chump change today. Any business that is planning for minor changes to the tax code 8 years in advance is ****ing retarded.

4. Presumably, employers need to compensate their employees a certain amount of money in order to retain them. So if they're paying them less in health benefits due to tax changes in health benefits, they'll have to pay them more in income or vacation time or something else that isn't affected by health care reform. So it will balance out anyway.
 
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Deuce

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A few things here:

1. Health insurance premiums have been going up, and health insurance benefits have been declining (or disappearing altogether), for years before the health care reform law took effect. Is there any evidence it has accelerated since the passage of the law? The law which hasn't taken effect yet?

2. The so-called "Cadillac Tax" on expensive health insurance policies was a freaking REPUBLICAN idea (and a sensible one, I might add). Or at least, it was a Republican idea until the Democrats put it into the health care bill, and then suddenly all the Republicans in Congress opposed it. Purely out of principle, I'm sure.

3. The White House is absolutely right that it isn't credible that businesses would already be planning to drop coverage because of a tax that won't hit them at all until 2018. A lot can change in that length of time, including A) Congress changes or delays the tax, or B) less comprehensive health care plans become available for a reasonable price. Furthermore, the time-value of money is such that any expenses 8 years out are chump change today. Any business that is planning for minor changes to the tax code 8 years in advance is ****ing retarded.

4. Presumably, employers need to compensate their employees a certain amount of money in order to retain them. So if they're paying them less in health benefits due to tax changes in health benefits, they'll have to pay them more in income or vacation time or something else that isn't affected by health care reform. So it will balance out anyway.

Yeah, they're just using it as an excuse to screw their employees over in the name of profit.

But you know what? I welcome it. Our being tied to employer-based health insurance has been dragging us down for decades. True competition requires that people have viable alternatives, but the tax advantage given to employers means that everybody ended up with whatever plan their employer decided on.
 

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Yeah, they're just using it as an excuse to screw their employees over in the name of profit.

But you know what? I welcome it. Our being tied to employer-based health insurance has been dragging us down for decades. True competition requires that people have viable alternatives, but the tax advantage given to employers means that everybody ended up with whatever plan their employer decided on.

The tax advantage given to the employees receiving these healthcare perks is no small advantage either. In fact, I'd say it's more advantageous to the employee by a long shot. I'm with you, though. I think everyone should have their own healthcare plan that they can carry with them -- not have to change plans when they change employers.
 

reefedjib

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The exchange does not represent true competition as they have restricted health plans. The goal is admirable, but the healthcare bill does not deliver.
 

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The exchange does not represent true competition as they have restricted health plans. The goal is admirable, but the healthcare bill does not deliver.

It was never meant to. It is only meant to cause the crisis needed to push everyone into Single payer.


j-mac
 

RedAkston

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I knew that employers would drop their health care plans as soon as this went live. This does not come as a shock to me in the slightest. While it costs me more money each year for less and less health care, it costs my employer more as well.

The HC Bill has to be in the top 10 of the worst bills any Congress in our history has ever passed. There were so many viable options to addressing the HC issue that didn't actually destroy the industry itself. But the goal of the bill wasn't to "provide health care to all Americans", it was to destroy the insurance industry, force everyone onto a single payer plan and provide even more handouts from the federal government.

One
piece
at
a
time...
 

Kandahar

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I knew that employers would drop their health care plans as soon as this went live. This does not come as a shock to me in the slightest. While it costs me more money each year for less and less health care, it costs my employer more as well.

The HC Bill has to be in the top 10 of the worst bills any Congress in our history has ever passed. There were so many viable options to addressing the HC issue that didn't actually destroy the industry itself. But the goal of the bill wasn't to "provide health care to all Americans", it was to destroy the insurance industry, force everyone onto a single payer plan and provide even more handouts from the federal government.

One
piece
at
a
time...

The part of the bill that is supposedly causing employers to drop coverage is the "Cadillac Tax" which won't take effect for 8 years, and won't hit them at all if they adopt less-expansive health insurance plans. It was a Republican idea, and a good one. I'm just disappointed that it got watered down as much as it did before making it into the final bill.

You are right that the whole idea was to encourage employers to drop coverage...but not to get people onto single-payer, as I doubt many Republicans support that. The idea was to get people on individual plans by severing the link between employment and health insurance once and for all, which has been a HUGE distortion in the market for decades. Basically, the reason health insurance is widely considered an employer responsibility is due to the idiosyncracies of our income tax code...employers can deduct it as a payroll expense, but employees don't pay income taxes on it. As a result, it isn't taxed at all and so it's popular with both employees and employers, even though society as a whole would be better off if it was treated the same as any other income. Linking health insurance to employment traps people in jobs where they are unproductive, makes them less able to pursue an education, and means that the end user of the product (e.g. the employee) is not the one who picks the plan. Horrendously inefficient system, from an economic standpoint.

If we can't tax health insurance as regular income, the LEAST we can do is have a Cadillac Tax on the most expensive plans. It's not as good, but at least it would push employers toward catastrophic plans where market forces would hold SOME sway, as opposed to comprehensive plans where the patient has no incentive to keep costs down at all.

So yeah...it was a sensible Republican idea, not a plot to get everyone on single-payer.
 
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The part of the bill that is supposedly causing employers to drop coverage is the "Cadillac Tax" which won't take effect for 8 years, and won't hit them at all if they adopt less-expansive health insurance plans.

Think about what you are saying here. One of the gripes that conservatives had about the Obamacare plan was that coverage would be diminished. You are basically admitting that right here.

It was a Republican idea, and a good one.

Got a link for that?

I'm just disappointed that it got watered down as much as it did before making it into the final bill.

Watered down? From what? Sole control by the government?

You are right that the whole idea was to encourage employers to drop coverage...

Finally some truth. On too little too late.

but not to get people onto single-payer, as I doubt many Republicans support that.

BS. Simgle payer was the goal from the beginning.

The idea was to get people on individual plans by severing the link between employment and health insurance once and for all, which has been a HUGE distortion in the market for decades.

More people than not in this country live from paycheck to paycheck. What do you think will be the consequence of placing 100% of the health care burden on the individual rather than have a plan like we have had in which the employer pays in most cases a lion share of the premiums as a benefit?

Heck, I remember when companies felt a responsibility to their employees and offered in many cases, pension programs. Then the libs came in and started crying about them, and convinced many companies to drop them in favor of 401K's where the companies then moved to decrease their contribution to them until you have what we have today which is that many companies offer 401K's but put in little to nothing. Yet liberal Unions cry about their pensions still. How'd that happen?

Basically, the reason health insurance is widely considered an employer responsibility is due to the idiosyncracies of our income tax code...employers can deduct it as a payroll expense, but employees don't pay income taxes on it. As a result, it isn't taxed at all and so it's popular with both employees and employers, even though society as a whole would be better off if it was treated the same as any other income.

Great. so you're going to raise taxes on everyone under the guise of a service that the employee, and employer have to pay for already? While at the same time may not use to the extent of taxation? Tell me Kandahar, how long before Progressives want to tax Medicare, Mediaid, and SS? Why don't libs just get their grubby hands out of my pockets?

Linking health insurance to employment traps people in jobs where they are unproductive, makes them less able to pursue an education, and means that the end user of the product (e.g. the employee) is not the one who picks the plan. Horrendously inefficient system, from an economic standpoint.

Absolute garbage. No one holds anyone to any particular job in this country. But no one is going to hand you anything either. Maybe that's the rub, eh?

If we can't tax...

Tax this, tax that, tax everything....What is it with you liberals? My God. Do you really believe that you are entitled to what I make?

Then we get to this lie.

So yeah...it was a sensible Republican idea, not a plot to get everyone on single-payer.

President Obama’s nomination of Donald Berwick as the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is a gathering far less attention than a certain other nominee — but it will be getting more attention in the weeks to come, given his particularly radical agenda when it comes to health policy.

Berwick is a leading Ivy League academic and technocrat – he’s graduated from Harvard not once, but three times – and is the founder of a Cambridge-based think-tank, the Institute for Health Care Improvement. Yet the job of running CMS is hardly the same as running a small think tank or talking in broad terms about the nature of health care – CMS is essentially the world’s second largest insurance company after the United Kingdom’s NHS, covering over 98 million people and overseeing roughly $800 billion annually in taxpayer-funded health care expenditures.

Berwick is a great fan of the NHS, and worked as a consultant on the project under Tony Blair. Berwick will have the opportunity to apply the ideas he gained through that experience with the power of the CMS position, which means that his nomination holds massive ramifications for Medicare and Medicaid recipients, hospitals and doctors and, under Obama’s law, all Americans.

The Wheels On The Bus Go Flying Off | RedState


Yeah, keep up the facade, we aren't buying it....


j-mac
 

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Who has cadillac plans anyway? Certainly none of my employers ever offered such a plan to the rank and file employee.

When my last employer hired a retired air force guy, thy paid him extra because they didn't have to provide health insurance for him and his family. It is a GOOD THING to have your own insurance.

My son is a teacher in a district that charges a LOT extra to cover his family, about $12K per year, for an HMO type policy. So he got a seperate policy for his wife and kids, and it only costs about $350 per month to cover them, and it isn't a stripped down policy either. There is a $1500 deductible per person that he has to pay and then all else is covered 100%. Good thing he took the 100% option, instead of the 80/20 basic plan. The chemo alone on his oldest child would bankrupt them, not to mention the brain surgeries....

I don't understand why any conservative wants to be covered by a company plan. Lots of places, the employer and the insurance provider conspire to dump people who use the insurance too much.
 

Kandahar

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Think about what you are saying here. One of the gripes that conservatives had about the Obamacare plan was that coverage would be diminished. You are basically admitting that right here.

No. EMPLOYER coverage would be diminished, in favor of INDIVIDUAL policies.

j-mac said:
Got a link for that?

John McCain campaigned on a variant of it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/us/politics/01mccain.html

j-mac said:
Watered down? From what? Sole control by the government?

Umm ALL taxes are solely controlled by the government. Do you even understand what the "Cadillac Tax" does? Or are you just mindlessly ranting about health care in general?

j-mac said:
BS. Simgle payer was the goal from the beginning.

Not of the Cadillac Tax. All that it does is discourage massive employer-provided plans, in favor of individual-provided plans. It is agnostic between public and private plans.

j-mac said:
More people than not in this country live from paycheck to paycheck. What do you think will be the consequence of placing 100% of the health care burden on the individual rather than have a plan like we have had in which the employer pays in most cases a lion share of the premiums as a benefit?

Overall compensation won't change. If an employer needs to compensate an employee $X in order to retain that employee, then they will still need to compensate that employee $X after the Cadillac Tax takes effect. All that will change is the exact breakdown of that compensation...likely it will result in fewer health benefits and more income.

j-mac said:
Heck, I remember when companies felt a responsibility to their employees and offered in many cases, pension programs. Then the libs came in and started crying about them, and convinced many companies to drop them in favor of 401K's where the companies then moved to decrease their contribution to them until you have what we have today which is that many companies offer 401K's but put in little to nothing. Yet liberal Unions cry about their pensions still. How'd that happen?

Regardless of what you imagined happened to pension programs, it has nothing to do with overall compensation. If the overall level of compensation decreased over that same time frame, it isn't because of policies specific to pension because employers could just compensate employees in some other way.

j-mac said:
Great. so you're going to raise taxes on everyone under the guise of a service that the employee, and employer have to pay for already? While at the same time may not use to the extent of taxation? Tell me Kandahar, how long before Progressives want to tax Medicare, Mediaid, and SS? Why don't libs just get their grubby hands out of my pockets?

It could be made revenue-neutral. The point isn't necessarily to generate revenue by ending the deduction...the point is that it isn't good for the economy for the tax code to favor employer health insurance over regular income. A person is still being compensated regardless of whether it's in the form of health benefits or cash. To draw a distinction between the two just encourages employers to provide health benefits, when there is no compelling economic reason that health insurance should be linked to employment.

j-mac said:
Absolute garbage. No one holds anyone to any particular job in this country. But no one is going to hand you anything either. Maybe that's the rub, eh?

If people lose their health benefits when they switch from one job to another, or go back to school, then it decreases the incentive to do so. This is pretty simple economics.

j-mac said:
Tax this, tax that, tax everything....What is it with you liberals? My God. Do you really believe that you are entitled to what I make?

Let me know if you'd actually like to discuss the policy instead of just reciting talking points. :2wave:

j-mac said:
Yeah, keep up the facade, we aren't buying it....

I really don't give a damn if you buy it or not. I'm under no illusions that any amount of economic evidence will convince you of anything. That's why my response was directed at Hugh, rather than you. He's smarter than you.
 
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Kandahar

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Who has cadillac plans anyway? Certainly none of my employers ever offered such a plan to the rank and file employee.

When my last employer hired a retired air force guy, thy paid him extra because they didn't have to provide health insurance for him and his family. It is a GOOD THING to have your own insurance.

My son is a teacher in a district that charges a LOT extra to cover his family, about $12K per year, for an HMO type policy. So he got a seperate policy for his wife and kids, and it only costs about $350 per month to cover them, and it isn't a stripped down policy either. There is a $1500 deductible per person that he has to pay and then all else is covered 100%. Good thing he took the 100% option, instead of the 80/20 basic plan. The chemo alone on his oldest child would bankrupt them, not to mention the brain surgeries....

I don't understand why any conservative wants to be covered by a company plan. Lots of places, the employer and the insurance provider conspire to dump people who use the insurance too much.

I completely agree. Individual plans offer more customization and more mobility to the customer, whereas with corporate plans you're basically stuck with whatever policy your company uses and you have a reduced ability to leave your job in pursuit of greener pastures.
 

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I completely agree. Individual plans offer more customization and more mobility to the customer, whereas with corporate plans you're basically stuck with whatever policy your company uses and you have a reduced ability to leave your job in pursuit of greener pastures.

My first civilian job, I worked in 2 different departments. When the first department failed to deliver a promotion as promised, I bid out. They missed me, too. I was the only one who could fix certain things that seemed to break down a lot.
Next civililan job, in AZ, same thing. Treat me wrong, and you lose me. The last one was a mistake, tho. Turned out to be a high concentration of buttheads in that group. All the senior techs were jockeying for the supervisors job, and he used that against them, manipulating them. They acted like little dictators, verbally abusing everyone around them, even snitching against junior employees to the supervisor.
End result, the one senior tech who wasn't jockeying got the job. LMAO....
 

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No. EMPLOYER coverage would be diminished, in favor of INDIVIDUAL policies.

Doesn't the law now state that when coverage changes that the policy holder would have to resort to the exchanges set up by the government at that point?

And, point two, If my current plan cost a total of $800. per month, and my employer pays 80% of that premium, and I pay 20% or $160.00 per month, what makes you think that I can afford to pay the additional $640.00 per month?



Not surprising, McCain is a progressive in my eyes. Are you saying that McCain speaks for conservatives?

Umm ALL taxes are solely controlled by the government. Do you even understand what the "Cadillac Tax" does? Or are you just mindlessly ranting about health care in general?

I am aware that Unions got an exemption from it. Why do you suppose that is?

Overall compensation won't change. If an employer needs to compensate an employee $X in order to retain that employee, then they will still need to compensate that employee $X after the Cadillac Tax takes effect. All that will change is the exact breakdown of that compensation...likely it will result in fewer health benefits and more income.

You said it. Overall compensation won't change, just the burden of cost of the plan will. To me. I can't afford it.

You are supposing that companies will increase salaries in lieu of not having to provide those benefits anymore, but you use the term "likely" meaning you don't know that. what happens when in this climate when there are hundreds, if not thousands waiting to fill your position for less money?

It could be made revenue-neutral. The point isn't necessarily to generate revenue by ending the deduction...the point is that it isn't good for the economy for the tax code to favor employer health insurance over regular income. A person is still being compensated regardless of whether it's in the form of health benefits or cash. To draw a distinction between the two just encourages employers to provide health benefits, when there is no compelling economic reason that health insurance should be linked to employment.

Revenue neutral? That is a real misnomer the demo's love to throw out there. If this type of coverage was so revenue neutral, then explain to me why the countries that have had plans similar to this for the past 50 years, and now going broke over it?

the average person doesn't see their health coverage as income. Speak to the person that lives payday to payday like me? How is getting a bill for some $640.00 a month more, and being taxed on it as well, going to make my life better?

If people lose their health benefits when they switch from one job to another, or go back to school, then it decreases the incentive to do so. This is pretty simple economics.

That's nonsense. We already have COBRA in place. And we see how much that costs. Changing Jobs, or going to further education is to advance in society now. The only thing I can see out of this Obama care law is to control people more.

Let me know if you'd actually like to discuss the policy instead of just reciting talking points.

I am discussing the policy, now law, that you don't get to set the parameters is not my problem, it's yours.

I really don't give a damn if you buy it or not. I'm under no illusions that any amount of economic evidence will convince you of anything. That's why my response was directed at Hugh, rather than you. He's smarter than you.

Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. I don't know. I respect Hugh, he is a smart guy. But if you think that this tactic of insult, and dismiss makes you look anything but foolish you are kidding yourself. How's about you stick to making your points without all the internet tough guy crap. it really adds nothing.


j-mac
 

Deuce

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Doesn't the law now state that when coverage changes that the policy holder would have to resort to the exchanges set up by the government at that point?

Nope. Participation in an exchange is not required by any individual or business. edit: except if your plan is subsidized, I think. But hey, gift horse and whatnot, and you don't have to accept a subsidy.

And, point two, If my current plan cost a total of $800. per month, and my employer pays 80% of that premium, and I pay 20% or $160.00 per month, what makes you think that I can afford to pay the additional $640.00 per month?

You're already paying the additional $640/month. Your employer is deducting it from your salary. Had they not been offering health insurance, they'd have to offer higher salaries to remain competititve.

Not surprising, McCain is a progressive in my eyes. Are you saying that McCain speaks for conservatives?

Oh good lord. He's center-right at best.


I am aware that Unions got an exemption from it. Why do you suppose that is?
Lobbyists run the country.

You said it. Overall compensation won't change, just the burden of cost of the plan will. To me. I can't afford it.

You are supposing that companies will increase salaries in lieu of not having to provide those benefits anymore, but you use the term "likely" meaning you don't know that. what happens when in this climate when there are hundreds, if not thousands waiting to fill your position for less money?

Well, in a pure free market mindset, that means you're being overpaid. In reality, it means the company is looking for an excuse to screw you in favor of a better bottom line.

Revenue neutral? That is a real misnomer the demo's love to throw out there. If this type of coverage was so revenue neutral, then explain to me why the countries that have had plans similar to this for the past 50 years, and now going broke over it?

We're going broke over it. We've got higher healthcare costs than the entire developed world. Every country is driving towards a cliff on health care costs, but we were getting to the cliff long before anybody else. The numbers just do not support your premise.


the average person doesn't see their health coverage as income. Speak to the person that lives payday to payday like me? How is getting a bill for some $640.00 a month more, and being taxed on it as well, going to make my life better?

It's not my damned problem if the average person doesn't see reality.
Your life might get worse, but it's hardly the fault of the health care bill. If your employer were on steady ground, they wouldn't be considering dropping your healthcare.

That's nonsense. We already have COBRA in place. And we see how much that costs. Changing Jobs, or going to further education is to advance in society now. The only thing I can see out of this Obama care law is to control people more.
Ridiculous conspiracy theory. If anything, the improved individual market from the exchanges makes it easier for you change jobs.
 
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