ObamaCare: the Burden on Small Business

Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and co-author of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.

By Michael F. Cannon (@mfcannon)

How will ObamaCare affect a small business owner who's married with two kids?

For one thing, he and his business will pay higher health premiums beginning this year. 

He and his employees will have to purchase unlimited lifetime coverage and unlimited annual coverage (this requirement phases in between now and 2014).  The Obama administration estimates that these mandates alone could increase premiums for some businesses by 7 percent.

He and his employees will have to purchase coverage for dependent children without any waiting periods for pre-existing conditions.  Another mandate will require them to purchase coverage for dependents up to age 26.  One private estimate puts the cost of this “slacker” mandate an average of 2 percent, but our small-business owner’s premiums may rise even more.  Perversely, the cost may force him to drop dependent coverage entirely.

If his health plan loses its “grandfathered” status—as most small businesses will—he and his workers will have to purchase 100-percent coverage for a long list of preventive services. The administration estimates this mandate will increase premiums on average by 1.5 percent, but private estimates are in the range of 3-4 percent.

The Obama administration also acknowledges there is “tremendous,” “substantial,” and “considerable” uncertainty about these mandates’ costs.  That is, they may be higher than the administration says.

These mandates are a double-whammy for our small-business owner.  He already faces some of the highest premiums out there.  Yet he also provides some of the least comprehensive health plans.  So his premiums will rise more than larger employers’ premiums will.

According to HHS, these added costs will likely push him to switch health plans, and he will likely switch to a plan that complies with the mandates, but places tight restrictions on accessing care.

If he offers his workers a health savings account (HSA), medical savings account (MSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), its employees will lose the ability to purchase over-the-counter drugs tax-free.  If they make non-medical withdrawals from their HSA or MSA, the penalty will double from 10 percent to 20 percent.

If his small business is a tanning salon, it is already paying a new 10-percent tax on its sales.

The Obama administration is quick to note that beginning in 2010, one third of small businesses may be able to get a tax credit that covers up to 35 percent of their health-benefits.  But that credit is not a long-term solution to rising costs; it disappears after 6 years, and often sooner.  It will also discourage hiring, because hiring too many workers will reduce or eliminate the credit.

By 2013, all businesses will have to fill out an IRS Form 1099 every time they purchase more than $600 worth of stuff from a vendor.  If our small-business owner owns a trucking company, he will have to ask gas stations for their tax ID numbers.  If the gas stations don’t cooperate, he will have to withhold money (i.e., send it to the IRS) for gas expenses.  This will be the biggest nightmare in the bill for small businesses.  Ironically, it will also hit many doctors, journalists, and others who supported ObamaCare, but run their own small business on the side.

If our small-business owner and his wife make over $250,000, they’ll pay the new, higher Medicare “payroll” tax of 3.8 percent, starting in 2013.  (It’s currently 2.9 percent).

But it’s 2014 where things really get messy.  That’s when the government will require everyone to purchase even more yet-unspecified types of coverage, which will cause premiums to rise even more.

If our small-business owner has 50 or more employees – or fewer full-time employees and lots of part-timers – he faces the prospect of tens of thousands of dollars in penalties under ObamaCare’s employer mandate if he does not provide “adequate” coverage to his workers.

The worst part is that these penalties will be triggered by factors that are unpredictable, unobservable, and totally beyond the control of our small-business owner.  He could get hit with those penalties simply because a worker’s spouse loses or changes jobs.  Or if a worker’s spouse moves out or dies.  Or if an employee’s parents move in.

This creates so much uncertainty that a small-business owner with 55 employees may have to fire six of them just to eliminate that potential liability.

But if he splits his 60-employee small business into two 25-employee businesses, then the federal government—maybe the IRS—will start snooping around to determine whether he did so for legitimate business reasons or just to avoid the mandate.

No matter the size of his firm, if he or his workers earn around $30,000 to $100,000 and get coverage through one of the new health insurance exchanges, their implicit marginal tax rates will jump from around 30-40 percent all the way up to 60-75 percent!

In many cases, if his employees get a raise or work more hours, ObamaCare will leave them with less take-home pay, because the higher earnings will cause them to lose thousands of dollars in subsidies.  Their implicit marginal tax rate will exceed 100 percent!

Our small-business owner is paying all these costs now – and so are his workers, and the unemployed.

ObamaCare has created enormous uncertainty.  Our small-business owner doesn’t have any idea what ObamaCare’s mandates will cost him in 2011, 2012, 2013, or 2014.  Or what additional benefits he will have to provide.  Or what kind of insurance options will be available by then.  All he knows is that these things will cost him more – possibly a lot more – and that he’s going to be spending lots of time and money, for the foreseeable future, on tax accountants and attorneys.

And he’s going to be much less likely to take on new commitments like expanding or hiring new workers.

Michael F. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and co-author of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.

SHOCKING: 11 states where Hunter Biden is accused of DISGUSTING crimes

Kris Connor / Contributor | Getty Images

Glenn has been calling on our leaders to do what they SHOULD have done a long time ago: hold Hunter Biden accountable for his BLATANT crimes.

Of which crimes is Hunter Biden being accused? From hiring prostitutes to smoking cocaine... LOTS of cocaine... here is a state-by-state list of ALL crimes committed by Hunter Biden. To read about each crime in detail, Glenn's "The Reckoning" guide lists ALL of Hunter Biden's crimes committed domestically and abroad alongside the alleged crimes of all the Biden family members, including Joe.

Glenn needs YOUR help to hold the "Biden crime family" accountable. Click HERE to download "The Reckoning" dossier of ALL of the crimes committed by the Biden family, send the dossier to your representative, and DEMAND they hold the Biden family accountable for their crimes.

In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of ALL of Hunter Biden's known sex and drug crimes committed within the U.S.

1. Arizona

Drug Crimes: One count.

2. California

Drug Crimes: 6 counts.

Sex Crimes: 20 counts.

3. Connecticut

Drug Crimes: 4 counts.

Sex Crimes: 11 counts.

4. Delaware

Drug Crimes: 9 counts.

Sex Crimes: 3 counts.

5. Florida

​​Drug Crimes: 1 count.

Sex Crimes: 1 count.

6. Massachusetts

Drug Crimes: 4 counts.

Sex Crimes: 4 counts.

7. Nevada

Drug Crimes: 1 count.

Sex Crimes: 2 counts.

8. New York

Drug Crimes: 2 counts.

Sex Crimes: 12 counts.

9. Tennessee

Drug Crimes: 1 count.

10. Texas

Sex Crimes: 1 count.

11. Virginia

Drug Crimes: 1 count.

It’s no secret that Glenn has a less-than-optimistic view of emerging AI and when you look at the horrifying new technologies that utilize the power of AI it’s hard not to agree.

Here’s a look at 7 new AI technologies that will HORRIFY you:

AI Brainwave Monitoring

Earlier this year during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, Nita Robinson, a professor of law and philosophy at Duke, presented a video that depicted a “hypothetical” situation where a person's brainwaves are monitored by their earbuds, which have the ability to record brainwaves, decode them with AI, and then send brain reports to their boss and are accessible by government agencies. When the video ends, Robinson makes the terrifying announcement that this AI technology already exists! It's just a matter of time before it's implemented.

If you want to learn more about Brainwave tracking and the WEF, you can watch this clip from the Glenn Beck Program.

AI Voice Cloning

Last month, Glenn covered a terrifying story involving a scammer who created an AI clone of a child's voice in order to scam money out of her terrified parents. While this might sound advanced, a quick Google search reveals that this technology is remarkably accessible and is easily able to replicate the voice of anyone. Imagine the havoc that could be inflicted on your life with an AI clone of your voice.

AI Mind Reader

Left shows stories read to user and right shows what the AI was able to decode from users brain activity

Image credit: University of Texas at Austin

Like something out of Star Trek, a team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin developed a new AI that is able to decode brain activity and produce a transcript of a person's thoughts with reasonable accuracy, all without the need for implants or other invasive measures. While the researchers assure us that the technology has major limitations, including the need to train this AI extensively on each subject's brain, it’s only a matter of time before the AI is able to overcome these limitations, and it may be sooner than we would like…

Snapchat's new AI “Friend”

Image of My AI's contact on Snapchat


In April the popular social media messaging app Snapchat released a controversial new feature known as “My AI”—an AI chatbot powered by ChatGPT. The new feature acts much like other chatbots. It can answer questions, converse with the user, and offer recommendations. However, unlike other chatbots, it is integrated in such a way that it can be difficult to distinguish from a human user, complete with a customizable avatar and name. Many parents are worried that the friendly appearance of “My AI” will make it hard for their teens to differentiate the bot from a real human. Moreover, the only way to remove the bot is by paying for Snapchat’s premium service, giving parents little recourse for protecting their children.

AI "Big Brother"

In a recent TED talk, former Apple Designer Imran Chaudhri introduced the concept for a new wearable AI device connected to a camera and microphone, enabling the AI to hear and see everything you do. Chaudhri assures us that the device is “privacy-first and safe,” but how safe would you feel with an all-seeing AI accompanying you all day every day?

AI Meddling with Elections

AI generated image of Trump's arrest

Open AI | MARCA News

One terrifying potential use for AI could be meddling with elections. The last few years have seen a decline in faith in our elections, and the emergence of AI will only serve to muddy the waters. As previously mentioned, AI voice clones are here and have been proven to have the ability to create compelling facsimiles of political figures. Combined with AI image technology the threat of an AI-generated scandal is high.

If you want to learn more about AI interference with elections you can watch this clip from the Glenn Beck Program.

AI Dating

Another disturbing development is the creation of “Dating AIs”—AI chatbots designed as a replacement for a boyfriend or girlfriend. There is already a variety of options available with prices ranging from free all the way up to $1 a minute, like some sort of dystopian "call girl." There are already reports of people developing genuine emotional attachments to these bots and others who have married or have tried to marry their artificial lovers.

Global ESG investments PLUNGED 76 percent with NEGATIVE returns on investment

SOPA Images / Contributor | Getty Images

Glenn has been one of the most outspoken critics of the use of ESG by globalist elites to force businesses to comply with their woke agenda. It turns out, not only is ESG bad political practice—it's bad for your wallet too.

Global Investments in ESG Funds PLUNGED 76 percent globally in 2022 from $157.3 billion to $649.1 billion in 2021, with a 20 percent decrease in the U.S. ALONE. This marked the lowest annual net inflow for ESG funds since $69 billion in 2018.

Morningstar via Investopedia

The downturn in ESG investment is largely due to the concerted effort led against ESG led by Glenn and government officials like Ron DeSantis and his anti-ESG 14-state coalition. Thanks to Glenn and DeSantis, an increasing number of states are barring their governments from taking ESG into consideration when determining their investment recipients for state pension and retirement funds. This not only protects critical American industries like oil and gas, but moreover, it protects the First Amendment rights of business owners who don't want to conform to the Left's woke environmentalist and LGBTQ+ standards.

Thanks to Glenn and DeSantis, an increasing number of states are barring their governments from taking ESG into consideration.

However, the massive plunge in ESG investment isn't only attributed to the political pushback against the practice: it also isn't yielding investors the return on investment they were hoping for. In fact, the main ESG funds have a NEGATIVE return on investment.

ESG funds were hit hard by falling equities. One of the largest ESG funds int the U.S., Parnassus Core Equity Fund (PRBLX), fell 26 PERCENT in 2022. This fund performed nearly six percent worse than the S&P 500, which fell 19.44 percent within the same period. Similarly, iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF (ESGU) fell 20 percent, and Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF (ESGV) plummeted 24 percent.

Even the Harvard Business Review admitted investors in ESG have "not fared well":

ESG funds certainly perform poorly in financial terms. [...] Although the highest rated funds in terms of sustainability certainly attracted more capital than the lowest rated funds, none of the high sustainability funds outperformed any of the lowest rated funds [bolded added]. That result might be expected, and it is possible that investors would be happy to sacrifice financial returns in exchange for better ESG performance.

The Harvard Business Review went on to say that ESG funds don't even benefit the environmental and social causes they tout to defend. In fact, when comparing environmental and social compliance between ESG and non-ESG funds, the
"ESG portfolios had worse compliance record for both labor and environmental rules" than their non-ESG competitors.

Let that sink in. ESG funds not only financially underperformed when compared to their non-ESG competitors. They failed to secure the very environmental and social compliance that is central to their original purpose. Missionally, practically, and financially, ESG failure is astounding.

As Glenn has long warned, the only thing that investment firms and governments should be taking into consideration regarding YOUR money is how they can get the best possible return on YOUR investment. We are seeing the detrimental consequences of what happens when woke ideology becomes the basis of investment rather than the recipient's monetary value.

The only thing that governments should take into consideration regarding YOUR money is how to get the best possible return on YOUR investment.

If political conviction alone isn't enough to persuade the general public to ditch ESG, maybe their hurting pursestrings will.

Glenn will show how ESG is being used to further globalist elites' agendas in the second installment of his Great Reset series, Dark Future.To make sure you're caught up and to learn more about ESG, enter your email below to get chapter one of Glenn's first Great Reset book sent straight to your inbox.

You've probably noticed that Glenn is FED UP.

He is FED UP with the crimes that our political elite can get away with. And NO ONE is keeping them accountable! This corruption goes all the way up to the Presidency. Over and over again, the American people have seen headlines of the Biden family's illicit business dealings and crimes both domestic and abroad, yet they ALWAYS get a free pass from the media, and Republicans who promise to hold them accountable, DON'T.

Are you FED UP too?

Glenn laid out the ENTIRE CASE against the "Biden crime family," detailing EVERY crime allegedly committed by the Bidens, going city by city, state by state, country by country.

But we can't stop there.

Now it's up to YOU to demand that they are held responsible. Here's what to do:

  • Step 1. Watch "The Reckoning" (on YouTube or Facebook) and share it with your friends.
  • Step 2.Enter your email HERE to get access to the "Biden Crime Family Dossier" with the full list of crimes and contact information for prosecutors and attorneys general.
  • Step 3. Take action by flooding the phones and emails of the prosecutors and attorneys general in your district and demand they prosecute these crimes.
  • Step 4. Once you've contacted the offices in your relevant district, tweet @glennbeck using the hashtag #Reckoning and let us know who you contacted and whether you received a response.

Like you, Glenn is SICK AND TIRED of our government and media giving the Biden family a free pass for their blatant crimes. Together, let's do something about it.

Watch "The Reckoning" below.