Topics: Obamacare

Report: Women, marriage face Obamacare 'train wreck'

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare

Women, especially those with low incomes or planning to marry, face a financial "train wreck" from Obamacare when it kicks in Jan. 1, according to a new pre-Mother's Day report from Senate Republicans.

In advance of the president's plan on Friday to highlight the benefits of the program for women, the GOP report provided to Secrets said, "his health care law hurts women, and ... it's a terrible Mother's Day gift."

The report from Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon who heads the Senate Republican Policy Committee, details six areas where the law could become a financial burden or worse to women.

1. Marriage could raise taxes on women under Obamacare, which some believe encourages women to stay single. Barrasso said the law increases the Medicare hospital insurance tax from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent on wages higher than $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. Thus, even for wealthy women, it's easier to avoid the tax by staying single instead of marrying and combining incomes.

2. For the same reason, less affluent women who marry could lose subsides for those who earn $45,960 or less. "For example, two singles can each make $45,960 per year (400 percent of FPL) and still qualify for government subsidies. If the two marry, and combined income hits $91,920 per year, then they lose the government subsidy. A single mother who earns $46,530 per year (300 percent of FPL) -- mother and child get a subsidy to buy health insurance. If the mother decides to marry the child's father, who earns a $45,960 per year salary (400 percent of FPL), then the family no longer qualifies for the subsidy help," said Barrasso.

3. Women at the low end of the wage scale could lose hours or even their job as small businesses figure out a way around Obamacare's demand that firms with 50 or more full-time workers either provide health care or pay a $2,000-per-employee tax.

4. Women could see premiums rise for children allowed to stay on their plan until age 26. "What will these young people do when they turn 27? A study published by the American Academy of Actuaries found the health care law greatly increases the cost to buy insurance in the individual market. Young people between the ages of 27 and 39 will be particularly hard hit -- single young adults making about $25,000 per year will face a 42 percent premium hike," said the GOP report.

5. Since women are more likely than men to be on their husband's insurance, they are vulnerable when facing a divorce or if a spouse loses his job -- or dies. Also, to stay on her husband's insurance, companies may raise premium prices. Said the report: "According to the Wall Street Journal, the people being dropped from employer sponsored plans 'tend to be women.' This trend will accelerate in 2014 once the health care law's exchanges open."

6. As Medicaid is squeezed, women who make up two-thirds of adult Medicaid patients might be squeezed too.

"In his relentless sales job, President Obama is not playing straight with the American people. All of the 'free' stuff he is promising is not free," concluded the Republican report. "The reality of his health care law train wreck is already hitting the American people hard, and it's only going to get worse."

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