Catastrophe looming thanks to Obamacare | | The Detroit News

Catastrophe looming thanks to Obamacare | | The Detroit News.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers

Put yourself in the shoes of a small business owner.

You own a restaurant with 33 full-time employees and several dozen part-time workers. You offer health benefits to some because you feel that it’s the right thing to do. However, under Obamacare, you will be required to provide expensive, government-designed health insurance beginning in 2014.


After crunching the numbers, you find that the mandate will increase your health costs by 200 percent, forcing you to lay off workers, increase food prices and not open a new restaurant.

This is an example of a real Michigan employer who testified before Congress that Obamacare’s mandates will cripple his business.

Countless other employers are running the same math, and reaching the same conclusions: How can employers afford offering health benefits under the new law?

Let’s take a look at the numbers. The average cost of a family health plan is around $14,000 per employee, much of it paid by employers. Under the new law, an employer who fails to offer government-mandated health insurance will face a $2,000 per employee fine.

For struggling small businesses it’s not hard to see why this doesn’t work. An employer could save $12,000 per employee by dropping health coverage and not have to deal with the administrative headaches imposed by Obamacare.

Clearly, some employers will immediately drop coverage in 2014. This has already been confirmed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

This is a looming catastrophe for America. During the debate over health care reform, President Obama repeatedly promised that “if you like your health plan, you can keep it.” The President has clearly broken his promise. One of his own Department of Health and Human Services officials said that dropping coverage would be a “win/win” for employers. Another HHS official said it would be a “great thing” for employers to dump their employees into the federal health insurance exchanges.

For American families wondering what this means, the answers are troubling. There is a good chance you will lose your current insurance in 2014, and you will be forced to buy government-designed health insurance. Your new plan may not cover the doctor you like and it will certainly be more expensive.

The new, complicated, subsidized health insurance in the government exchange is projected to require at least $1 trillion in new spending. But if estimates are off by just a small percentage, the taxpayer costs will skyrocket.

Under Obamacare, small businesses owners are given every possible incentive to stop offering health insurance, and in this economy, it’s hard to see why they wouldn’t.

As the Michigan restaurant owner told Congress, we have “no idea just how complicated and burdensome this law is.”

We shouldn’t wait until 2014 to find out.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. E-mail comments to


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