NFIB’s hollow victory

The announcement yesterday that businesses with 50 or more employees would have an extra year to comply with the Obamacare requirement that they either provide health insurance or pay a penalty was greeted with glee by the National Federation of Independent Business.

“This is simply the latest evidence that implementation of this terrible law is going to be difficult if not impossible, and the burden is going to fall on the people who create American jobs,” said Amanda Austin, Director of Federal Public Policy with the NFIB.

But of course the NFIB is wrong as usual.  The delay of this provision will have very little impact on the implementation of Obamacare as I told the media last night.  Most businesses, about 97%, have fewer than 50 workers and thus were under no mandate to offer health insurance.  Of the remaining 3%, only 3% of them do not currently offer health insurance.

So we’re talking about 3% of 3% of businesses for which this delay is good news.  Most of these are in the hospitality or staffing industries and are probably breathing a sigh of relief.

The employees of these affected businesses will now go into the insurance exchanges to obtain their insurance and receive premium assistance.  The October roll-out of these marketplaces has not been changed and neither has the individual mandate to have health insurance.  Will there be future hiccups in implementation?  Of course.

But instead of cheering for this reprieve for a very small number of employers, the NFIB should be worrying.  For years this small-business pretender organization has been screaming that the employer mandate should be stopped because it was going to put companies out of business or drive up their costs or cause extensive job loss.

Now that the NFIB has gotten what it wants, if only for one year, the country is going to find out that Obamacare isn’t so bad after all.  For the real job-creators, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the NFIB can no longer hide behind their lies about mandates.  The exchanges should provide an easier path to being insured for the workers in these small businesses whether their employers do or do not offer health insurance.

Fear of the unknown has been the ally of the NFIB and they hyped that fear with their untruths about the future under Obamacare.  Now the future is almost here and small businesses are going to find out that, as FDR told the nation in 1933, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.
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