Obama admin. pushes back on Obamacare rumors
August 1st, 2013
03:30 PM ET
12 months ago

Obama admin. pushes back on Obamacare rumors

Washington (CNN) - On Thursday the White House officially launched a new website to educate business owners on how the Affordable Care Act is likely to affect their bottom line. The new site, part of the administration's existing inter-agency effort called BusinessUSA, aims to be a one-stop-shop to dispel misinformation surrounding new requirements that employers offer health insurance to their workers, a senior Obama administration official said.

"The goal with the tool is to put the information – if there is unique information to your state, your location, let's put it right there at your fingertips along with the other information that may be more applicable across the board," the official said.

Earlier this year the Obama Administration decided to delay the so-called 'shared responsibility payment' created under the ACA, which requires businesses of a certain size to pay a fine if they fail to provide health insurance at a comparable cost to plans available on their state's exchange. While this requirement is now scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015 the administration is trying to make information available to businesses well in advance through this new website and other efforts like with weekly small business webinars.

"We hear from business owners all the time that they just want to know what the facts are because they're going to sit down and make their own decision based on what makes them most competitive," the official said.

On the site, employers can select their home state, the size of their company, and whether they currently offer insurance to their employees and then they will be presented with links to pertinent information about the ACA. The links offer employers information ranging from a basic glossary of healthcare terms to how penalties will be calculated if the insurance provided doesn't meet government standards for coverage and affordability.

In response to the question "Do I have to offer health coverage to my employees?" the site offers this answer: "No employer has to offer coverage."

If an employer has fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees – employees working either 30 hours a week, or a combination of employees working the equivalent of 30 hours a week – then the employer is not subject to the shared responsibility language in the ACA. The site directs those employers to a new business-focused insurance exchange called the Small Business Health Options Program where they'll be able to can select plans and calculate costs when open enrollment begins on October 1.

The administration estimates that 96% of businesses fall into this category. Republicans on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee didn't dispute that estimate, but they called the administration's attempts to use that number to minimize the law's effect on small businesses "disingenuous."

"Many of those businesses have already had to purchase new insurance because their existing coverage did not meet the minimum benefits package mandated by the law," said Christina Aizcorbe, Counsel to the Small Business Committee's Republican Minority, in a statement to CNN. The statement also pointed to a recent Gallup poll that showed many small businesses plan to freeze hiring, reduce staff levels or simply pay the penalty.

"The regulations in the law are costly to ALL businesses because each business has to set up a compliance structure for reporting to the IRS and all are subject to audits," the statement continued. "This is a huge administrative burden."

The Obama administration disagreed that plans currently offered by businesses were unlikely to meet federal standards.

"The 4% who are above 50 employees, the vast majority of those firms, no matter what their size, already offer health care coverage to their employees," said the administration official. "And in most of those cases, we anticipate and fully expect that the plans they're offering are going to meet the minimum threshold for plans required under the Affordable Care Act."

If a business has more than 50 full-time employees, and either doesn't offer insurance or offers insurance beneath federal standards, the owner could owe the government up to $3,000 per eligible employee.

The web page will continue to be updated as more information becomes available, and the administration plans to include more interactive features like cost calculators that can be found elsewhere on the BusinessUSA site.


Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    The links offer employers information ranging from a basic glossary of healthcare terms to how penalties will be calculated if the insurance provided doesn't meet government standards for coverage and affordability.
    In response to the question "Do I have to offer health coverage to my employees?" the site offers this answer: "No employer has to offer coverage."
    --

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Typical government double speak. We don't require you to do something but of course if you don't we are going to whack you over the head with a bludgeon (penalities/taxes)

    Obamacare is a massive train wreck in progress. But I'm sure Obama will start referring to it as a phoney train wreck. After all, it is just your entire healthacre system. What is there to worry about?

    August 1, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Shelia

    What are the federal standards does anyone even know? If i get car insurance they tell you the min requirement. I have yet to see that from this nightmare...This has to be the worse piece of legislation in American History. Nobody even knows what is required..

    August 1, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Abbey

    Well he did grant those big corporations he hates so much a 1 year delay on his new law. Gee I feel kinda left out again Mr. Obama.

    August 1, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. rs

    The best selling point for the ACA these days is theway big deal the GOP keeps trying to make of it. Just look at the wretched excess of the GOP in their endless, mindless votes against the law itself- now toatling what? 40, 41? At an estimated $1.2 million for each vote, the House GOP is once again shown to be anything but fiscally "conservative".
    Next up, they'll shut down the government over the ACA.
    Fools.

    August 1, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Hasn't everybody figured out yet that the GOP has 0 creditibility on this issue?????? What hampend to the GOP jobs bill????? If the GOP morons spent 1/10th the time on jobs that they spend tryin to repeal Obama care, the economy would be great by now but the GOP wants the economy to tank and most sane voters know it and payback is coming for the GOP in 2014 when they lose the house and senate!!!!!!

    August 1, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. boungiorno

    people have good sound judgement when it comes to their mental physical and sychiatric well being in days when people didnt have doctors OLD SCHOOL MOM AND POP KNOWLEDGE IS ALL THEY NEEDED NOW WITH THE TECH IN SPREADING KNOWLEDGE PEOPLE WILL FORM POOLS OF SKILLS AND BARTER :)

    August 1, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. truth hurts but reality bites

    It is costing twice (and climbing) as much as they said it would.
    It is insuring millions less than they said it would.
    It will result in millions losing their current insurance and doctors when Obama said it wouldn't.
    The long term care portion of it that was supposed to "save" billions was deemed impossible to implement, and dropped.
    The taxes on medical devices were repealed by BOTH Democrats and Republicans because it would have cost thousands of jobs.

    What ACA is, is an ummitgated disaster and it hasn't even started in full force yet. Then it will become painfully obvious to the American people just what the Democrats and their far left President did to them and their healthcare system.

    And now even the Obama/Democrat unions are attacking Obamacare and demanding it be fixed because they say it threatens to destroy middle class workers, their members.

    Train wreck isn't even going to begin to describe Obamacare.

    August 1, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Data Driven

    First rule of public policy messaging: push first, don't push back.

    The myths about this program are already settled in, I fear. Like barnacles on a pier post.

    August 1, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Obamacare Train Wreck - ALL ABOARD!!!

    Three years to get this massive steaming pile of poo implemented and the Obam aadminstration still couldn't do it. Actually, I believe they COULD have done it but are now certain that it will be a job killer that will cost Democrats control of Congress. THAT is why they delayed it. But they surely cannot delay it until after the 2016 election and the Revenge of Obamacare will be felt in the 2014 elections but certainly in the 2016 elections.

    The economy is barely above recession levels, record unemployment, record debt and record food stamp rolls. Obamacare is poised to send the economy into recession again.

    August 1, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Abbey wrote:

    Well he did grant those big corporations he hates so much a 1 year delay on his new law. Gee I feel kinda left out again Mr. Obama.
    -------------
    He granted them a delay mainly because the GOTP had them so convinced that the SCOTUS would strike the ACA down that they did next to nothing to prepare for implementing it. Instead of using 3 years to prepare, they suddenly had to do it in one.

    August 1, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @abbey "Well he did grant those big corporations he hates so much a 1 year delay on his new law. "

    Obama got some pretty big donations from big corporations during the campaign. There has to be payback. 1% hangs together.

    August 1, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Gurgyl

    Every thing goes good, wait till 2014 January. It is a law derived from Massachuttes.

    August 1, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Obama admin. pushes back on Obamacare rumors"

    Followed by myriad angry, misinformed Teatrolls parroting rumors about the ACA. I see what you did there, CNN.

    August 1, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. GOP = Greed Over People

    I will try and keep this free of big words and in bite size pieces for those GOP members among us.

    1. No change if employed(have a job) and you get health insurance through your boss.

    2. There will 4 classes under Ovamacare(s). Bronze Silver Gold Platinum

    3. All the 4 classes will have the same benefits, unlimited doctor's visits, free preventive care, etc.

    4. The only differences between the four groups will be how much you pay and the annual deductible amount.

    5. (Apologies to all non GOP folks, these should be subsets under #4 and be A, B,...but I promised to keep it simple, so)
    Under the Bronze program you have a $6,000 annual deductible(I know big word, uh, if you pay $6,000 between
    Christmas of one year and Christmas of the next year in co-pays then the insurance company pays 100%). You will
    about 40% in medical co-pays and the insurance will pay 60%.

    6. Under silver you pay a $2,000 annual deductible(if you have ADHD and started reading here, please read 5 above)
    you pay 30% in co-pay and the insurance pays 70%.

    7. Under the Gold plan, the annual deductible is $750 and 20% co-pays and insurance pays 80%.

    8. Under Platinum(it is a very fancy metal, like iron only prettier) the annual deductible is $100 and you pay 10% in
    co-pays and the Insurance pays 90%.

    9. Obamacare(s) provides subsidies to help those of us who are poor and will have to buy off the exchanges because we
    are unemployed, just know that if you make less than $46,000 and are single, Obamacare(s) gives you an instant,
    monthly tax credit to help pay your insurance premium, but, that is a lecture for another day, this thinking simple,
    thoughts is an exhausting(my brain hurts) process.

    10. I am gonna stop at ten, I am thinking there is a reason God sent Moses down the mountain with the abridged version
    of His commandments and stopped at 10, He knew the GOP would one day contain "chri$tians" and He understood
    their level of reading comprehension(I am tired, ask your 8 year old to Google it for you)!

    August 1, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Getoverit

    @Rudy NYC

    He granted them a delay mainly because the GOTP had them so convinced that the SCOTUS would strike the ACA down that they did next to nothing to prepare for implementing it. Instead of using 3 years to prepare, they suddenly had to do it in one.
    -----–
    Nope. It's purely a political move to get past the midterms, and everyone knows it.

    August 1, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Steveo

    Don't push back too hard, especially since the ACA is not a fair application of the law in the first place. Not true you say? Then please explain the granted waivers, mostly for unions and corporations. Explain why a call center, whose sole job is to explain the law has hired a ton of part time employees, with NO benefits, which means NO healthcare!. Before you go on your "faux News" rant. This was reported in the Contra Costa (Ca) Times! It was also tweeted by Chuck Todd of NBC!

    August 1, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They say RED MEAT is bad for your body.
    It is hard to digest and logjams your intestines.
    Excreting it from your system can take years and shave years off your life.

    August 1, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. tom l

    Anyone know what the IPAB is in the ACA? That's the fancy term for the unelected group of individuals who will determine what type of healthcare someone gets. You can get mad, stomp your feet, yell la-la-la and plug your ears all you want but in reality it's just a way for govt to ration our healthcare and make decisions that should be made between doctor and patient.

    Oh, and can someone tell me why Obama just decided unilaterally to allow the mandate to be delayed for business by a year? And all the liberals decide to ignore what a corporatist our president is.

    Or are those just rumors that I'm being misled about?

    August 1, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Mark_Htown

    Those of you out there that think this is destroying the country or is horrible please tell me exactly what you disagree with in the law – I will ask people if they agree with and then list the major points of the bill and they agree with all of them – I will them ask them what they think about Obamacare and they say something like it is destroying the country – my doctor told me he decided to forgo making a lot of money and retire because of it – I have found that most people have no clue how their current plan works or how it compares to the minimum standards – The people with the signs and bumper stickers are worst offenders

    August 1, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. HenryMiller

    "...a one-stop-shop to dispel misinformation..."

    Or, in other words, the place where you can get all the best and latest propaganda.

    August 1, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. HenryMiller

    @Mark_Htown

    "Those of you out there that think this is destroying the country or is horrible please tell me exactly what you disagree with in the law – I will ask people if they agree with and then list the major points of the bill and they agree with all of them..."

    It's the multi-trillion dollar price tag that's killer. Obamacare supporters love to talk about all the good stuff Obamacare offers but never say anything about the cost. That's like saying, "Sure, you can have a Rolls Royce!" but never bothering to add, "But you have to pay for it first."

    August 1, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. GOP = Greed Over People

    P.S. I failed to note, Obamacare(s) does not allow the bartering of chickens for medical care as one GOP skirt suggested, an oversight that I expect the House GOP to take up after their 5 week August recess.

    August 1, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ GOP= Greed Over People
    One of the BEST posts I've seen in quite sometime.
    Great job: simple, factual, and funny.
    Congratulations and please keep posting babe!!
    That line about the 10 Commandments was priceless BTW!

    August 1, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    ANONYMOUS wrote
    if marijuana then what with it or not. she may have came from a state that passed a law too let it be done you cannot fault her then thats why rooty pooh people shouldnot be makeing laws without seeing side affects meaning just good side but the wrong sides
    -------------------------------------------------
    Dude, somebody has been sprinkling some bad stuff all over whatever it is that YOU'RE smoking.
    ??????!

    August 1, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. tom l

    @Domincian,
    "Dude, somebody has been sprinkling some bad stuff all over whatever it is that YOU'RE smoking.
    ??????!"

    Now THAT was funny.

    August 1, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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