by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
You don’t have to be a critic of the 2010 federal health care reform law to see its potential harm for working-class Americans. Ask Berkeley assistant law professor David Gamage, who during the last two academic years “worked at the Treasury Department on the implementation of the tax provisions of health-care reform.” He shares his concerns in the Wall Street Journal.
It is time to move past the debate over whether ObamaCare was a good or a bad idea. I count myself as an ObamaCare supporter, but this doesn’t blind me to the law’s flaws. Regardless of who wins the presidential election, bipartisan compromise will be necessary to reform health care in a constructive way.
The most important provisions of ObamaCare are scheduled to take effect in 2014. I have been researching ObamaCare and assisting with its implementation, and have come to this realization: Without further reforms, the law will create unnecessary costs for working-class Americans.
Consider a low-income American supporting a family of four deciding whether to take a part-time job that pays $36,000 a year or a full-time job that pays $42,000 a year. According to my research, accepting the higher-paying job could result in the family losing over $10,000 a year in health-care subsidies.
Moreover, by switching low-income employees to part-time positions, rather than offering them health insurance, an employer will be able to save over $3,000 a year by avoiding ObamaCare’s employer-mandate penalties. Without further reforms, many employers and employees will jointly benefit if employers make low-income employees part-timers rather than offering them health insurance. The losers will be taxpayers, who will need to fund the subsidies that these employees will be eligible for.