Idaho lobbying group pushes anti-Obamacare employer disclosure form

newsroom@idahostatesman.comSeptember 17, 2013 

The conservative group Idaho Freedom Foundation launched a website for employers to urge employees not to use health insurance tax credits or buy plans on a state-run marketplace that launches Oct. 1. Some larger employers may be fined if they don't offer coverage in 2015 and their employees are eligible for tax credits.

Businesses must notify employees this month of their health insurance coverage status for 2014 — specifically, whether employees will have employer-provided insurance that meets the cost and value requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The Freedom Foundation said in a press release that it launched its website so that employers could draft their own versions of that disclosure, with comments opposing the law.

"Understand that our country is trillions of dollars in debt. If you accept tax credits to pay for your health insurance, that bill will have to [be] paid by this nation's children and grandchildren," the website says in one of the suggested comments.

Employees who will not receive required coverage from their employers can buy plans on the Idaho health insurance exchange starting Oct. 1. If their incomes are low enough, employees can qualify for tax credits to help pay for the plans. At the same time, their employers may be fined if they have 50 or more full-time workers and don't offer the required level of coverage.

The Obama administration has delayed that penalty until 2015 and also will not fine employers who don't provide the disclosure form by Oct. 1.

The U.S. Department of Labor is offering model forms that employers offering coverage as well as those not planning to offer it may fill in to notify their workforces. The forms for those without coverage include information about the exchange — a virtual marketplace to buy insurance — and about a "new kind of tax credit" and "premium savings" available on the exchange.

A department representative was not immediately available for comment.

"The federal government is trying to have American businesses serve as shills for Obamacare by forcing them to notify employees about the existence of the insurance exchange and all of its entitlements," Wayne Hoffman, president of the foundation, said in a press release. "The U.S. Department of Labor's model exchange notification form is nothing more than government-sanctioned propaganda. Our form turns the tables. It reminds business owners that they still have the right of free speech, and in employing that free speech, they should let their employees know the damage that Obamacare and the insurance exchange subsidies are doing to our country."

Other comments that the Freedom Foundation's website suggests include:

  • "The federal government has no business being in the healthcare business. By partaking in government healthcare, you may be cementing further intrusion of the government into our lives."
  • "If you participate in the insurance exchange, you should know that your private healthcare information will be in the hands of government regulators, putting your privacy at risk. As with other programs, there is no way to know whether your information will be safeguarded or distributed throughout other government agencies."
  • "Despite the fact that we are required to give our employees this notice, I want you to understand, I still vehemently oppose this law and will do everything I can to see that it is repealed."
  • "Does taking government subsidies in an insurance exchange constitute plunder?"

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