Wednesday, March 19, 2014

RomneyCare's Relatively Few 29ers Not Indicative of What We'll See in ObamaCare

From  Economics Professor, Casey Mulligan writing at the New York Times:  
[T]he Massachusetts experience tells us little about the number of 29ers that will be created by the Affordable Care Act. 
For one, the Romneycare employer mandate was not based on the number of full-time employees. It was based on the number of full-time-equivalent employees, which means that workers are counted according to the number of hours they work, not their full-time status. 
For example, cutting all workers’ hours to 39 from 40 would have the same penalty consequence under Romneycare as would cutting 1/11th of workers’ hours to 29 from 40. In Massachusetts employers could choose how to cut employee hours (if at all) on the basis of business and personal considerations; the federal law would only give relief to the 29er approach. 
Second, the Romneycare penalty was deductible from an employer’s business taxes; the Affordable Care Act’s penalties will not be deductible. A Massachusetts employer avoiding the health reform’s penalty would find that his avoidance increased his business tax liability a bit. 
Finally, the Romneycare penalty was only about $300 per full-time equivalent employee, whereas the Affordable Care Act’s penalty is $2,000 and set to grow with the rate of health care inflation. ...