Printed letters, July 5, 2013

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Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Kudos to the Sentinel’s editors for preemptively debunking (“Temporary time-out for part of Obamacare”) the partisan poppycock of columnist Josh Penry (“President’s retreat on Obamacare shows big government doesn’t work”) and local lemming Dave Kearsley (“Dems want to celebrate only “Dependence Day’”).

As the Sentinel explained, explanations for delaying the “employer mandate” provision of ObamaCare range from the conspiratorial to the straightforward – encompassing both Penry’s and Kearsley’s prematurely expectant glee that a one-year delay in enforcing an administratively cumbersome provision presages the impending “train wreck” so eagerly sought by Republicans and promoted by their cynical attempts at repeal and/or sabotage. 

The “employer mandate” in Richard Nixon’s (1974) and Bill Clinton’s (1994) health care proposals compelled employers to pay for employee health insurance.  The “employer mandate” in “Romney-care” and now “ObamaCare” imposes a nominal “penalty” on some employers for not doing so ($2000 to $3000 per employee per year, versus annual insurance premiums averaging $16,000 per employee)..

Because all employers with 200+ employees already provide health insurance plans, only employers with 50 to 200 employees are subject to the “penalty”.  Because 95% of those employers currently provide health insurance plans (which may or may not comport with the minimum specifications of the Affordable Care Act), only some 5% of those “smaller businesses” would be affected by the “penalty”.

The administration’s decision to delay this provision in response to legitimate concerns “shows that [the Republican-controlled Congress] doesn’t work” – because it won’t even consider proposals intended to improve ObamaCare and/or facilitate its implementation.

Indeed, some Democrats would eliminate the “employer mandate” entirely—by allowing employers to convert health insurance premiums to commensurately increased wages and salaries, thereby freeing employers from those administrative and financial costs while enabling their newly “independent” employees to purchase their own personalized plans from ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges.

Meanwhile, Kearsley willfully ignores the real “war on women” being waged by mostly white, male Republicans in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, and elsewhere.

To Judith:

You are right about describing the problem and our obligations as voters. However, to inform ourselves as voters, we run a gauntlet of monied ads and an ingrained “support the team at all costs” attitudes. The recent chamber orchestrated elections being an example. Where were the media that could have provided the background stories? The needed 3rd party analysis! Why does the the media participate, without question, paid ads and press released story material?
Removing the money is one thing that could help voters, but there is still a basic problem with media’s participation as a third party, and the voter’s acceptance of bad representation based only on a ‘team loyalty’ concept. This last element is seen in the fact that ‘reality’ TV shows can then make lying, stealing,etc. acceptable behavior, if it is “a game” and the reward is enough.

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