Obamacare: Democrats Cost Native Americans Millions

Native Americans are finding that Obamacare will cost their tribes millions.

How is Obamacare working out? We already have Unions fighting against it. Now we find that Native Americans are opposed to it for the simple reason that it robs them. As the Daily Signal reports, “How Obamacare Will Cost Native American Tribes Millions of Dollars.”

Throughout the story you should strike out the word “Congress” in most cases and replace it with “Democrats,” or “Democrat representatives.” Remember, not one Republican voted for Obamacare. This is entirely a Democrat aggression.

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2009, lawmakers exempted Native Americans from the individual mandate, shielding them from having to pay a fine for not having insurance. Native Americans could, however, purchase health insurance on the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, and have access to substantial tax credits, driving down the cost of their plans.

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Congress did not, however, exempt Native American tribal governments from Obamacare’s employer mandate, which is already in effect for large employers and goes into effect for small businesses with between 50 and 99 employees next year. Now, tribal governments are beginning to realize the effects the employer mandate could have on reservations’ economies and the lives of their employees.

Under the employer mandate, businesses with more than 50 full-time employees—classified as those working more than 30 hours each work—are required to provide health insurance to their employees. Companies that fail to abide by the employer mandate are required to pay a fine of $2,000 per full-time employee.

The law also states that individuals with access to coverage independent of the exchange cannot get the subsidies available on the exchange, meaning that Native Americans like Bishop who have access to employer-sponsored coverage cannot continue purchasing plans on the exchange and receive their subsidies.

“This is what happens when Congress short circuits regular order, and doesn’t go through the relevant committees, and take the time to mark it up, and debate it the right way, and rush a complicated bill through,” Ed Haislmaier, senior research fellow in health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“The other large issue is, from a policy perspective, the law also provided a very generous subsidization of coverage through the exchange for Native Americans who didn’t have access to other coverage,” he continued. “This will essentially negate those provisions for a lot of members of tribes.”

This sounds like a bait and switch. The Native Americans thought they were getting support and didn’t see that the support would soon be replaced with financial drain. I suppose we’ll never be able to prove if it was intentional or not.

The required health insurance is so expensive for employers that they would be better off simply paying the fine and doing nothing for their employees!

The result is that now Obama Administration lawyers are arguing in court that a law passed by Democrats does indeed require the tribes to insure their employees.

The story ends on a negative note. Republicans are trying to fix the situation legislatively.

Called the Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act, the bill would prevent tribes from having to pay either the fines or costs associated with the provision.

“In South Dakota, tribes often serve as the primary employer of their community members,” Thune said in a July statement. “This mandate would have a significant negative impact on tribes and tribal citizens by diverting much-needed valuable resources away from economic development and important programs toward this burdensome law.”

But that would leave them with a lot of subsidies and none of the pain that other employers suffer. How is that fair? A better way would be to exempt the native Americans from all Obamacare legislation, both the requirements and the subsidies. Then Native Americans could develop a free market healthcare system and show the rest of us how much better life is without government “help.”