- - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A year removed from the massive failure that was the rollout of HealthCare.gov and the federal and state insurance exchanges, Americans are still somewhat vexed with the 2010 law. In fact, the most recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that only 35 percent of people have a favorable view of Obamacare.

It is likely that negative impacts on individuals – like having an insurance plan cancelled or having to change doctors – have caused such a low favorability rating for the Affordable Care Act. But what about the impact on businesses?

In this case, the impacts are just as negative, especially for manufacturers.

Our country was built by people who built things. And while many Americans today are employed in different industries, manufacturing still supports about one in six private-sector jobs in our country. However, the growth of manufacturing may slow thanks to the ACA.

Four different surveys from three Federal Reserve banks – Dallas, Philadelphia and New York – show that the ACA could be slowing the economic recovery. More than one in four manufacturers responding to the August Texas Manufacturers Outlook Survey released by the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank said they plan to reduce the amount of workers they employ because of “the effects the ACA is having on [their] firm.”

Answering that same question, 16.9 percent to 21.6 percent of respondents to the three New York and Philadelphia surveys said they were employing fewer people.

Each month, the Federal Reserve banks release their manufacturing outlook surveys and generally ask specific questions about different aspect of business. In August, the “special questions,” as they are called, revolved around the ACA.

When asked how Obamacare has affected health care costs for the firm in 2014, 48.6 percent of Dallas respondents said it would “raise costs a lot.” When applied to 2015, the amount jumped to 54.7 percent.

Many firms also plan on making changes to their health insurance offerings because of the ACA. Just over half of respondents to the Philadelphia survey are making changes and more than 60 percent of respondents to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey – one of the two New York Fed surveys – are making changes.

It is not just business owners that are facing higher costs. Many of the costs are being passed on to workers, as well.

According to the Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey, nearly 90 percent of workers will see higher premiums and deductibles thanks to the ACA. Plus, between 16.5 percent and 20.2 percent of employers responding to each of the four surveys plans to increase the amount of workers that are part time.

While it is sometimes easy to point out a broken website or a bureaucrat that didn’t do his job right, the results of these surveys point to a much bigger problem facing our country – the bad policies offered by the ACA.

With the second round of Obamacare enrollment set to begin on Nov. 15, exactly one month from today, we need to start thinking about how to create true health care reform in this country. Since 2010, costs have not come down and health care is simply becoming more burdensome for our country’s employers.

If policymakers do not act soon, the exponentially damaging effects of the ACA could do permanent financial harm to our economy.


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