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Health care reform: Train wreckTell North Platte what you think

As the clock continues to tick toward the 2014 implementation of the new health care law, a growing chorus of concern continues to ring out across industries, families and the political spectrum.

A broadening swath of Americans is learning more details about how the law will impact their families as well as businesses and jobs. As the shroud of political persuasion is pulled back, Americans aren’t liking what they are seeing.

Public support for the health care law has dwindled as businesses and individuals prepare to comply with new insurance coverage requirements or pay tax penalties.

Many businesses with 50 or more full-time staff, faced with a mandate to provide insurance to all employees, began to cut back hours and postpone adding new positions.

In fact, June’s jobs report placed the number of part-time workers at an all-time high.

Companies poised to grow are holding back on adding the 50th employee to avoid what could amount to $40,000 in tax penalties.

Clearly, the employer mandate was already beginning to spell disaster for a needed job market recovery. So just before the Independence Day break, President Obama announced he would postpone implementation of the employer mandate until 2015.

This move takes some pressure off of employers who are working to create more jobs and improve the economy, but it neglects many Americans who are still required to carry health insurance or face a tax penalty.

Folks who have insurance will likely see changes in their health coverage and insurance premium increases because of the law — something President Obama explicitly assured would not happen.

Despite the President’s promises that he would reduce health care premiums for families by $2,500 annually, a number of independent studies predict the opposite. In fact, premiums are expected to increase anywhere from 10-60 percent for most families at a time when many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet.

You deserve relief from the law, just as businesses were given.

Delaying the employer mandate was an important first step to correct the flaws in the law, but we shouldn’t stop there. President Obama should postpone indefinitely not only the employer mandate, but the individual mandate and all aspects of this law to prevent further damage to the economy and protect American businesses and families from new tax penalties and premium hikes.

Even some of its original supporters are uneasy about how it will be implemented, calling the process a “train wreck.” It’s time President Obama listens to these concerns. A true leader is willing to chart a new course when the current path forward turns out to be a dead end.

I hope our President has the courage and wisdom to change course on health care for the sake of American families, jobs and our economy.

Mike Johanns, a Republican, represents Nebraska in the U.S. Senate.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 7/16/2013
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