The IRS is fining small businesses that help pay their employees’ health insurance premiums under Obamacare (the “Affordable” “Care” Act). That’s bad enough, but Congress has given itself the ability to do this, contrary to law and good sense.
The NFIB reports:
Under the rule, which appears nowhere in the Affordable Care Act, employers who do not offer a group health plan, but give their workers additional pay to compensate for the purchase of health insurance or direct medical expenses can be fined $100 per day, per employee. Over the course of a year that’s $36,500 per employee up to $500,000 in total. The penalty on businesses for failing to comply with the employer mandate is only $2,000 per year.
The trouble is that the reimbursements are tax-free. Small businesses could pay their employees more, but there is no way to guarantee employees would use the extra money for health insurance. In a world that made sense, that wouldn’t matter, but we don’t live in that world.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are supposed to be exempt, but they still have to compete with larger businesses who are able to provide insurance.
Larger employers under Obamacare are allowed to provide Obamacare-compliant health insurance themselves, or they can pay a fine and put their employees on the Obamacare exchange. Small businesses can join a SHOP exchange, if their state offers one.
The Small Business Health Option Program has failed to draw many customers, and only 11 states have implemented a SHOP exchange. They are only available for businesses with fewer than 50 employees (100 in 2016). Keeping intact its record of thunderous ineptitude, the Obama administration failed to implement a federal SHOP until this year.
The ACA specifies that Congress can only provide its members and staff insurance created or made available by the Act. That would have been a pay cut for Congressional staff, who were used to having 75% of their insurance premiums paid under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program.
Businesses are allowed to pay their employees’ premiums on a SHOP exchange. So [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ], [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ], [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ], and [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] got President Obama to let them.
Since the District of Columbia did create a SHOP exchange, your Congress certified itself as a small business, paying 75% of the health insurance premiums for its more than 10,000 employees.
How is it possible that Congress is on the SHOP exchange? Congress fraudulently declared itself a small business. The key player in allowing that particular piece of the puzzle to fall into place was [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] of Kentucky, who gave Republicans cover by voting not to subpoena the application from the DC SHOP.
Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell are hiding those applications as if this has the potential to be a giant, party-toppling scandal. That’s because it does have that potential.
It may not seem like a big deal. But if Congress, and more importantly, its staff, were to face the true costs of Obamacare as the rest of us have done, they would not keep it around even for a day. The Congressional bribe offered by Obama and greedily accepted by Boehner and McConnell is the linchpin holding the Obamacare monstrosity in place.
The DC SHOP exchange knows that Congress is not a small business with fewer than 50 employees, despite the certification that it is. With thousands of people listing Congress as their employer, the DC SHOP should be blowing some kind of whistle.
Every member of Congress knows that it is not a small business. It is not the individual Congressional offices that were certified, but all of Congress.
It’s another corrupt episode in the corrupt history of Obamacare, and it’s one DC Republicans are in up to their snouts.