opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
John Stossel
John Stossel
10 Feb 2016
High-Tech Ted

Politicians tailor their messages to different audiences. Facing New Hampshire's primary, Ted Cruz talked … Read More.

3 Feb 2016
Political Arrogance

After the Iowa caucus results, it looks like Hillary Clinton vs. Marco Rubio in November! They lead the … Read More.

27 Jan 2016
Running on Empty

Cars run on fuel. Politicians run on votes, and they'll do almost anything to get them. That includes … Read More.

Obamacare Abominations


President Obama says his health care "reform" will be good for business.

Business has learned the truth.

Three successful businessmen explained to me how Obamacare is a reason that unemployment stays high. Its length and complexity make businessmen wary of expanding.

Mike Whalen, CEO of Heart of America Group, which runs hotels and restaurants, said that when he asked his company's health insurance experts to summarize the impact of Obamacare, "the three of them kind of looked at each other and said, 'We've gone to seminar after seminar, and, Mike, we can't tell you.' I think that just kind of sums up the uncertainty."

Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy, added that Obamacare makes it impossible to achieve even basic certainty about future personnel costs:

"If I was trying to get you to fund a new business I had started and you asked me what my payroll was going to be three years from now per employee, if I went to the deepest specialist in the industry, he can't tell me what it's actually going to cost, let alone what I'm going to be responsible for."

You would think a piece of legislation more than a thousand pages long would at least be clear about the specifics. But a lot of those pages say: "The secretary will determine ..." That means the secretary of health and human services will announce the rules sometime in the future. How can a business make plans in such a fog?

John Allison, former CEO of BB&T, the 12th biggest bank in America, pointed out how Obamacare encourages employers not to insure their employees. Under the law, an employer would be fined for that. But the penalty at present — about $2,000 — is lower than the cost of a policy.

"What that means is in theory every company ought to dump their plan on the government plan and pay the penalty," he said. "So you don't really know what the cost is because it's designed to fail."

Of course, then every employee would turn to the government-subsidized health insurance. Maybe that was the central planners' intention all along.

An owner of 12 IHOPS told me that he can't expand his business because he can't afford the burden of Obamacare.

Many of his waitresses work part time or change jobs every few months. He hadn't been insuring them, but Obamacare requires him to. He says he can't make money paying a $2,000 penalty for every waitress, so he's cancelled his plans to expand. It's one more reason why job growth hasn't picked up post-recession.

Of course, we were told that government health care would increase hiring. After all, European companies don't have to pay for their employees' health insurance. If every American employer paid the $2,000 penalty and their workers turned to government for insurance, American companies would be better able to compete with European ones. They might save $10,000 per employee.

That sounded good, but like so many politicians' promises, it leaves out the hidden costs. When countries move to a government-funded system, taxes rise to crushing levels, as they have in Europe.

Whalen sees Obamacare as a crossing of the Rubicon.

"We've had an agreement in this country, kind of unwritten, for the last 50 years, that we would spend about 18 to 19 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) on the federal government. This is a tipping point. This takes us to 25 to 30 percent. And that money comes out of the private sector. That means fewer jobs. This is a game-changer."

He means it's a game-changer because of the cost. But the law's impenetrable complication does almost as much damage. Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute is right: If you wonder why businesspeople are not investing and reviving the economy, the answer lies in all the question marks that Obamacare and other new regulations confront them with. Higgs calls this "regime uncertainty." It's also what prolonged the Great Depression.

No one who understands the nature of government as the wielder of force — as opposed to the peaceful persuasion of the free market — is surprised by this.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="" <>></a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




6 Comments | Post Comment
A prime illustration of how one of thousands of examples of government intervention into the private affairs of citizens at leas discourages if not punishes honorable productivity. This is precisely why Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution was crafted. The founding fathers knew from many examples in recorded history . . . giving humans command and control over the productivity of others is a recipe for disaster.

The current cadre' of despotic progressives have many pots of realized and potential misery on the stove. It's time we got them out of the kitchen. The president is the least of our worries. The whole process of creating and maintaining a civilized society has been corrupted beginning with public schools and culminating in the most destructive presidency in the history of our nation.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Bob Nuckolls
Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:26 AM
"You can keep your plan." Ha!
Comment: #2
Posted by: D.C. al Fine
Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:29 AM
Once again Stossel breaks down the complicated and cuts to the chase.

Obama knew what Obamacare would deliver to America, another bomb in the destruction of our economy.

You will never convince me that it is not intentional and that someone other than Obama is behind it...he just ain't smart enough!
Comment: #3
Posted by: G. Hugh Bodell
Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:14 AM
Re: G. Hugh Bodell

I think you give too much credence to our government if you think this was specifically designed.
Sure, there was some subtlety, such as having the penalty lower than the cost to provide insurance, but this thing was passed in a desperate attempt to get it passed. It isn't some diabolical, contrived attempt to destroy America. It is a half-baked, down your throat, make it up as you go piece of legislative failure.
Those who defend this on ideological loyalties are idiots.
Comment: #4
Posted by: C. L. G.
Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:06 AM
John, just read your artical, Obamacare Abominations. I have been telling people the same thing for two years. As agents , we are fed information almost daily and still cannot keep up with the changes of the new healthcare bill. Most of the information we receive has the same disclaimer, "this may change in the future." How can we inform our clients when we have nothing concrete to give. Every business man I have talked to has come up with the same responce of, " it will be cheaper to pay the fine." Keep spreading the truth. I love your stuff! Merry Christmas Greg Kuhl
Comment: #5
Posted by: Greg
Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:35 AM
The CEO of CKE restaurants(Carl's Jr and Hardee) says the co. had their health-care consultant study the potential finacial impact would be when Obamacare was fully implemented. Their healthcare costs would increase about $18 million. They spent $8.8 million on new construction last year. The increase will probably eliminate any new restaurants and many employees will become part-timers. 63% of their employees are minorities and it will affect them the most.
Source: Bloomberg 12./27,author: Andrew Puzder at
Puzder testified before the House oversight and Gov. reform committee Jult 28th
Comment: #6
Posted by: k rolph
Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:47 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
John Stossel
Feb. `16
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Linda Chavez
Linda ChavezUpdated 12 Feb 2016
Suzanne Fields
Suzanne FieldsUpdated 12 Feb 2016
David Limbaugh
David LimbaughUpdated 12 Feb 2016

12 Jun 2012 Improving Health Care

30 Dec 2009 Memo to the House: Adopt the Filibuster

21 Sep 2010 The Battle for the Future