Monday, May 3, 2010

The Impact of the New Federal Health Care Proposal

Last week the Oklahoma House approved House Joint Resolution 1054 which is the legislative initiative that would codify an Oklahoma law to state that Oklahomans will not be forced to purchase health care and allows Oklahoma's legislative leaders to file suite against the federal law.

I have served as a co-sponsor of the legislation and as a member of the conference committee which approved the proposal. This is an issue which I have included on my 2010 constituent survey (available online at and which currently has the support of approximately 84% of respondents.

The importance of opposing the federal health care initiative has become more and more obvious as the details of the federal law continue to be exposed. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) recently released the following timeline. Following are just a few of the new provisions:

Because of the health care bill, employers will be required in 2011 to start reporting to the federal government the number of employee benefits they provide.

In 2012, businesses will have to start sending in form 1099s for every business-to-business transaction of $600 or more, which presents a huge paperwork burden for small business. No doubt this cost will be factored into the price of goods and services which we all pay.

In 2013, Medicare payroll tax on wages and self-employment income in excess of $200,000 will increase to 2.35 percent. This will be the first time that funds designated for Medicare will be diverted elsewhere and start a dangerous precedent for using a payroll tax as a revenue raiser.

In 2014, an annual fee will be levied on health insurance companies which will be passed on to small business consumers, but will not apply to big business and labor union self-insured plans. The fee starts at 8 billion dollars in 2014 and by 2019 will increase to 14.3 billion dollars.

Also starting in 2014, penalties will start being assessed to individuals who do not purchase health insurance. By 2016, these penalties will reach a level of 2.5% of each person's income and likely increase from that time forward. Certain businesses will also start to be penalized thousands of dollars if they do not offer health coverage. This cost is very likely to be passed on to consumers.

In 2018, the government will start charging a 40 percent tax on health plans which cost more than $10,200 per year (subject to certain changing conditions). This tax will greatly discourage businesses from offering higher-end health plans to their employees.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the mandates which will be forced on Oklahoma businesses if the federal government is successful in implementing their health care plan. I believe these efforts will destroy many jobs and it is imperative that we do what we can to prevent the plan from taking effect.

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