Saturday, January 31, 2015

ObamaCare and Growth Imperative

I do not know if you noticed but both the Senate and House have voted unanimously to exempt veterans from the employer mandate that requires small businesses to pay penalties for not offering health plans if they expand and have over 50 employees.

This Congressional move was a rare show of bipartisanship and may be a forerunner of an effort to end the employer mandate altogether and to give businesses an incentive to grow.

What’s at issue here? The economic growth imperative.

The credo of capitalism is that if the economy is not growing, it’s failing. This applies to corporate and individual success and to middle class incomes.

It is the basis for complaints that the GDP has grown only 2.2% under Obama versus the usual 3% to 4% growth following a deep recession, the slowest recovery since World War II; that ObamaCare has impeded economic growth for small businesses by limiting that growth past 50 employees; and that it has resulted in middle class income stagnation and a record law participation (62.5%) in the job markets.

On the flip side, the pick-up in growth in 2013 to 2.6%, with a spike to 5.0% in the third quarter is primarily responsible for President Obama’s approval rating rising from the low forties to the high forties and to 50% in some polls.

This rise in approval ratings has not gone unnoticed by either political party, hence the Obama agenda to raise the national budget by 7% with a series of measures to help the middle class, and the Republican incentives to help businesses to grow by lowering health care costs for businesses by ending the employer mandate.

The growth imperative comes down to this: how to grow? In health care, will it be through government mandates investing more in promote growth? Or will it be through private entrepreneurship and limiting government involvement?

According to Forbes magazine, keys to growth are flexibility, investment, technology, and entrepreneurship. U.S. healthcare needs more freedom and entrepreneurship to grow, not more government controls. We need an “entrepreneurially venturesome economy full of experimentation and discovery.” We need something akin to fracking in health care to unleash our health care resources. This unleashing may come in the form of alternatives to employer and individual mandates and to evergrowing and crippling Medicare and Medicaid burdens.

We need a confident, incentive-based, pro-growth message, based on American values of freedom of individuals, choice, innovation, and experimentation, such as decentralizing health care, such as turning the system away from government and back to patients and physicians to let me decide how much to spend and how much to do.

Growth is our biggest problem, and our greatest opportunity. A rising tide can lift all boats but only if you don't overload the boots with too many taxes and regulations and poke too many holes in the bottom of the boats.

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