Fixing Glitches in Health Care Law is Not the Same as Special Interest Lobbying

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Monday, 27 May 2013 05:25

The NYT had a piece noting that as a result of political gridlock Congress has not fixed a number of glitches in the Affordable Care Act. While the piece does mention several items that are in fact glitches, it also includes a number of issues that are simply lobbying to benefit special interests.

For example, it correctly notes that the provision setting 30 hours a week of work as a cutoff for requiring employers to provide insurance or pay a penalty was a glitch, however it absurdly follows industry groups in implying that raising the numbers to 35 hours or 40 would fix it. Of course the problem is that it is a discrete number of hours rather than a pro-rated payment. Wherever the cutoff is placed there will be a strong incentive for firms to cluster hours just below it, unless the number is put high enough so that almost no employees would cross it in any case.

The article includes a death panel type assertion. The article begins by citing Scott DeFife, a restaurant industry lobbyist, warning of a trainwreck from the law. A few paragraphs later it quotes him:

“Are we really going to put the private sector in a situation where there’s a real potential mess for posturing points?"

The piece never describes the potential mess that Mr. DeFife is concerned about. Needless to say, the bill will create inconveniences for many businesses as does the current health care system. There is no evidence presented in the piece that the law would risk major damage to businesses, we just have the NYT taking empty assertions from an industry lobbyist at face value.