Ted Cruz today tweets:
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 14, 2013
Indeed, the Boston Globe has suddenly learned that federal regulation of health care might not be the best idea in the world. A March 5 editorial titled Mass. needs an Obamacare waiver for small-business health plans begins with this complaint:
MASSACHUSETTS HAS made a concerted effort in the last few years to rein in health care costs for small businesses. But new federal regulations written to implement the Affordable Care Act threaten to undercut those efforts — and saddle thousands of Bay State businesses with big increases in premiums.
State law currently allows insurers to consider a range of factors that often reduce premiums for small firms. But under the new federal regulations, most of those rating factors will no longer be allowed. For example, insurers won’t be able to consider the risks inherent to the industry a company is in, or whether the company has a wellness program, or how many employees it has, or what percentage of them participate in its health plan. Those regulations will also end discounts for small businesses that have joined health-insurance-purchasing cooperatives. When the law allowing those cooperatives passed in 2010, Governor Patrick hailed it as an important step in addressing health care costs for small firms.
The overall result of those federal regulations is that small businesses with fewer industry risks, a proactive wellness approach, and (relatively) more employees will end up subsidizing companies that would otherwise be more expensive to insure. Because small businesses and individuals are merged into one pool as far as assessing risk, firms will also end up subsidizing the costs of coverage for people buying individual plans.
Yes, they will, Boston Globe editors. And for the people who crafted this legislation consider that a feature, not a bug.
The Boston Globe whines that Massachusetts should not have to suffer these consequences because Massachusetts had RomneyCare. But many of the problems they cite are issues that are going to be a problem for the entire country, not just for Massachusetts. Small businesses all over the country have wellness programs and other steps they take to minimize their risks and expenses, all to keep premiums low. All these businesses are going to get hit, not just the ones in Massachusetts. Bad one-size-fits-all federal regulation is bad everywhere. Instead of seeking a waiver, they should be seeking repeal.
As we come to see how destructive ObamaCare is, we come to see how waivers are yet another way to reward cronies. It’s no accident that the main recipients of the waivers are labor unions, as the Daily Caller reported in 2012:
Documents released in a classic Friday afternoon news dump show that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation.
By contrast, private employers with a total of 69,813 employees, many of whom work for small businesses, were granted waivers.
Ted Cruz is right. It would be funny to say we all need waivers, every last one of us, but really, we need repeal — because waivers can be taken back, and are another weapon the government can hold over our heads.
Of course, repeal can’t possibly happen unless public opinion changes so drastically that Obama has no choice but to sign a repeal bill. Even then, as a lame duck, he might veto it. But it sure can’t hurt to talk about it.