Obamacare includes such a variety and volume of negative policies that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Here is a list of 10 terrible provisions that every American should be aware of:
- It increases taxes on families earning over $250,000. In 2013, the employee portion of the Medicare payroll tax will increase from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent for families earning $250,000 or more and individuals earning $200,000 or more. The income threshold is not indexed for inflation, so more and more middle-income families will be hit by the tax hike as time goes on.
- It adds a new tax to investment income. The increased payroll tax rate is also applied to high-earners’ investment income for the first time beginning in 2013. It will hit capital gains, dividends, rents, and royalties, discouraging investment and harming economic growth.
- It puts new limitations on those with HSAs and FSAs. Starting in 2012, Obamacare restricts the products that consumers may purchase with a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Savings Account (FSA)—such as over-the-counter medications—and increases the penalty for such non-qualified uses of HSAs. It also limits the amount taxpayers may deposit into an FSA to $2,500 a year in 2013.
- It adds a new tax on those who purchase medical devices. In 2013, a 2.3 percent excise tax will be applied to medical devices, causing a $28.5 billion tax hike on medical device manufacturers. The industry will pay for this tax by reducing jobs and passing additional costs on to consumers.
- It penalizes marriage. Obamacare creates new taxpayer-funded subsidies for the low and middle classes to purchase health coverage, but the structure of the subsidies allows two individuals to claim more in subsidies alone than if married. This discriminates against married couples and discourages marriage at almost all age and income levels.
- It violates religious liberty. The Department of Health and Human Services included the full range of contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, among the women-specific preventive services that Obamacare requires insurers to include with no cost-sharing. This mandate violates Americans’ conscience rights and religious liberty. Its narrow exemption for religious employers will force many who find these products morally objectionable—including religious charities, hospitals, and schools—to pay for them.
- It puts Medicare decisions in the hands of an unelected board. The Independent Payment Advisory Board, a board of 15 unelected officials, will have the power to cut Medicare spending without congressional approval. These unaccountable government appointees will be able to restrict seniors’ access to providers, treatments, and services.
- It puts a premium tax on health insurers. Obamacare adds a premium tax on health insurers that offer full coverage beginning in 2014. On average, the tax is expected to increase premiums by 1.9 percent to 2.3 percent in 2014 and between 2.8 percent and 3.7 percent by 2023. Combined with the other provisions in Obamacare, this tax will have a huge impact on the cost of premiums.
- It creates a new unsustainable entitlement program. On top of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, Obamacare created a new long-term care entitlement called the CLASS program. It is actuarially unsound, unworkable, and unsustainable. As a result, the Administration has already put its implementation “on hold.”
- It puts over half of all Americans on a government program. Because of Obamacare’s huge expansion of Medicaid and creation of taxpayer-funded subsidies to purchase health coverage, more than half of all Americans will be dependent on a government health care program (Medicare, Medicaid, or the government exchanges) by the end of this decade.
Alyene Senger is a Research Assistant at the Center for Health Policies Studies at the Heritage Foundation.
This article was originally published at Heritage.org. Used with permission.