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Health care law means ‘taxing’ time for everyone

Democrats claimed a victory for people across the United States.

     Republicans signaled the arrival with a new battle cry as they fight on toward November’s elections.

     Citizens and taxpayers, though, pondered what the U.S. Supreme Court’s upholding of the health care overhaul law will mean for them.

     For many to a certain degree, it just means more money that they can’t call their own. It’s just a matter of whether it will be hidden or in plain view.

     Citizens who already have insurance – either on their own or through their employer – may actually see the least amount of change. But make no mistake, the money drain will still be present.

     Insurance companies, now required to offer coverage to more people and prohibited from charging more under certain circumstances, will seek every way possible to reduce their costs. When those measures fail, coverage options could simply cease to be offered.

     The result then would be to force people to look elsewhere for coverage.

     Those willing to pay the price will find it. Those not willing will have to settle for a government-sponsored plan along with its inefficiencies and longer wait times.

     The uninsured – the target of the health care overhaul legislation – surely face the prospect of more money out of their pockets.

     Thursday’s ruling said they could not be required to buy insurance, but the government can make them pay a fine if they don’t have it. For those who don’t get insurance, the fine could show up as a bigger tax bill on yearly tax returns.

     Subsidies, from a variety of sources, will be available to help the uninsured pay for coverage. Whether through a new regulation that garners the government more money or some other mechanism, making subsidies available represents a reallocation of resources that will mean less money for someone.

     And let’s not forgot businesses, both large and small, which face a wide variety of new obligations under the health care overhaul. They, too, will face fines for not providing their employees with insurance deemed “affordable” under a government formula.

     Some businesses will simply opt to pay the fine and not offer insurance. That would leave those employees still wanting, which would seem to defeat the purpose of the overhaul plan.

     Other businesses could choose to follow the new rules, but push some of the costs on to the employees. The end or diminishment of employer-assisted insurance coverage surely would mean less money in the worker’s pocket.

     Still others could take more drastic actions by trimming or eliminating part of their workforces. Full-time workers could suddenly become part-time or part-timers could be out of luck altogether.

     Reduced hours means less money to pay for insurance and no work would mean insurance help would have to come from somewhere. Both options would suggest more people finding their way onto the public dole for health care.

     And as has been stated before, businesses pay no tax. Consumers do.

     Operational costs, including the money to pay business taxes, are passed on to customers through higher prices for goods and services or the realization of cost-savings through reduced or eliminated services.

     Interestingly, health care overhaul supporters at one time argued the health insurance mandate fine was not a tax. However, the Supreme Court allowed the mandate to stand on the basis of Congress’ ability to levy a tax.

     As the health care overhaul is implemented, citizens across the nation are about to find out how “taxing” the legislation will be.