Caught between President Barack Obama's health care law and Gov. Scott Walker's resistance to it, Wisconsin employers could pay up to $36 million more in federal taxes next year, a new study has found.What a guy!
Walker last month rejected expanding the state's BadgerCare Plus health care program to the full limits called for and funded under the federal health care law. The federal government is supposed to pay the largest share of expanded coverage through 2020, but Walker has said he's not convinced it will be able to sustain its part of the deal - in which case the costs could fall back to the state.
However, a national study by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. estimates that Walker's decision could leave Wisconsin employers with federal penalties of between $24.1 million and $36.1 million a year.
The governor has proposed allowing extremely poor adults without dependent children to enroll in BadgerCare, while shifting those with somewhat higher incomes into a subsidized insurance marketplace, scheduled to debut in 2014 under the federal health law. Essentially anyone below 100% of the federal poverty level - $11,490 a year for a single adult - would end up in BadgerCare; those with incomes above 100% would go into the federally subsidized marketplace, a larger group than foreseen under the federal law.
Putting these additional people into the exchanges, instead of covering them in BadgerCare, means they might face additional costs, in the form of premiums, deductibles or other costs. And if they have a job, their employers might have to pay more as well.
Employers with the equivalent of 50 or more full-time workers would pay a tax of between $2,000 and $3,000 per employee for anyone who receives a taxpayer subsidy to be covered under the federal health exchange. In Wisconsin, that would work out to just over 12,000 people, Jackson Hewitt estimated.
"Any projections of the 'net' costs of Medicaid expansions should reflect the very real costs of such liabilities to employers," the report from the firm said.
It should be noted that by dropping the standard to the level of poverty, he will also make health care unaffordable for a lot of disabled people (especially veterans), elderly and the working poor. At least we know what part of Affordable Healthcare Act Walker doesn't understand.
And as a bonus to screwing over all these people, Walker still manages to make the state even more business unfriendly, which will lead to even more job losses.
All of this brings me back to one thing that's been bothering me a lot lately.
I wonder if all those people who voted for Walker in the recall election because they were tired of recalls or were opposed to them in general are happy now.