The true scope of ObamaCare's side effects continued to be divulged this week with the revelation of some little-known provisions in the law. The lab tests are back, and the prognosis isn't good.
First, Section 9006 will force businesses to issue 1099 tax forms to any individual or corporation from which they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year. Currently Forms 1099 are received by independent contractors and freelancers to document income beyond wages and salaries for work they perform for businesses and clients. Starting on Jan. 1, 2012, these forms will have to be issued not just to individuals, but to corporations as well. If a freelancer purchases any good or service worth more than $600, they must issue a 1099 to the business from which they made the purchase. This provision encompasses just a few lines in the 2,400-page law, but it will add millions of new tax documents to each year's reporting.
Democrats defended the move based on their belief that it will put an end to some $300 billion per year in unreported income. Just think of all the tax revenue! Demos claim that this revenue will help fund continued tax cuts for small businesses. What they purposefully ignore is that the more complex the tax system grows, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to do business.
Meanwhile, the provision that allows adult "children" to remain on their parents' health insurance plan until age 26 has a surprise of its own. An estimated 1.2 million young adults are expected to join these plans after Sept. 23, and the Health and Human Services Department noted that premiums for the employers of those parents would rise about one percent in 2011 as a result. That's on top of the 6 to 7 percent hike that employers are already expecting next year. Furthermore, coverage for young adults must be offered at the same level as for that of other dependents. They can neither be charged more, nor receive a lower level of benefits. Parents who purchase insurance for their adult children in the open market can expect to pay an additional $2,300 in premiums next year.
Finally, the Congressional Budget Office announced that the health care plan will actually cost at least $115 billion more than estimated when it was signed into law. This pushes the law's total cost well above $1 trillion over 10 years (though "unofficial" estimates are as high as $3.5 trillion) and erases the $100 billion in deficit "savings" that Barack Obama bragged about during the legislative debate. The CBO's adjustment is necessary because Democrats didn't include real numbers in various portions of the law that include administrative costs for actually implementing the program. Any figures the bill's authors didn't know at the time were simply replaced with the phrase "as needed." The CBO has since had a chance to score these nebulous elements, and the president's own budget office has told Congress to offset these new costs with spending cuts or tax increases. Gee, which option will they choose?
Obama audaciously issued a veto threat for any portion of the bill that comes in above the original cost estimate. Since we surely couldn't believe him when he claimed that his health care takeover would actually save the country money, why would we begin to believe that he would veto any portion of legislation upon which he staked his political future?
Given all this, and given the many as-yet undiagnosed side-effects sure to come, we humbly suggest that the following FDA-type warning be read each time an Obama official mentions its crowning legislative achievement: Taking Hope 'n' Change may cause bloated budgets, irritated politics, nausea and heartburn. Unexplained costs could be a sign of a common but serious side effect of unbridled socialism.