COMMENTARY | Obamacare has seen a rough introduction, with political bickering and website glitches marring its unveiling. Unfortunately for the Obama administration, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has just released a report claiming that Obamacare will result in a loss of up to 2.3 million jobs over the next decade, reports Fox News. Republicans eagerly pounced, insisting that the Affordable Care Act be repealed as a decidedly flawed piece of legislation.
While Obamacare in its current incarnation may indeed be heavily flawed, the Obama administration should not take this criticism lying down. It has taken a stand on a position and must see it through. To remain mute could be disastrous, particularly for the working class.
The position taken by the Obama administration is that employers have a duty to provide for the basic welfare of their employees’ health. While employer provision of health insurance should not be a right in and of itself, the drastic increase in health care costs makes it a necessity. Either the cost of health care needs to decrease or the provision of health care funding by employers needs to increase. Enforcing neither would be catastrophic in the long run.
In choosing to enforce a greater provision of health care funding by employers the Obama administration has taken the simpler, and less invasive, option.
The roll-out of Obamacare has been marred and heckled and now the administration is on the ropes. It must fight back or the entire position that workers need greater insulation from exorbitant health care costs will crumble. President Obama needs to affirm the necessity of protecting the working- and middle-class from rising health care costs and insist that employers do their fair share.
Some employers are undoubtedly truly harmed by Obamacare, but many others are undoubtedly griping out of greed. They could afford to provide health insurance for their workers but simply do not wish to. While the government certainly cannot force private sector employers to keep hiring, it can pass legislation denying tax breaks, subsidies, or lucrative contracts to employers that cut hiring after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act but had no financial need to do so.
Basically, if you want the federal government’s assorted carrots you better play ball. If you choose to sidestep the spirit of the law, which is to protect workers, you will not be punished…you will simply no longer be given any more of the treats to which you might have grown accustomed. Tough. Deal.
Like FDR before him, Obama’s going to have to play some hard-nosed ball to get his point across. While his critics have their right to critique, so does the president have the right to defend his policies. And right now he needs to get talking.