Background: Passed back in 2010, Obamacare made dramatic changes to the health insurance industry in America. While the stated intended goal of Obamacare is to provide health insurance to every citizen, Obamacare has caused millions of Americans to lose not only their health care plans, but their doctors as well. Obamacare gives the federal government unprecedented control over health insurance companies, individuals, and businesses. The federal government can now regulate what kinds of health insurance plans are allowed, force individuals to buy health insurance, and force employers to provide health insurance. Obamacare represents a significant step toward a single-payer system.
Realtor Health Insurance: Due to Obamacare regulations, millions of Americans lost their private health insurance plans and were forced to gain new health insurance on Obamacare exchanges within their state. Real estate agents were especially hard hit considering many bought health insurance through the individual market. With the private health insurance market now in shambles, many real estate agents are forced onto an Obamacare exchange.
Unfortunately, health insurance premiums on the individual marketplace are getting more and more expensive every year under Obamacare. Candidate Obama had promised his health plan would lower premiums by $2,500 but instead they have gone up by thousands of dollars. According to one study, average health insurance premiums in 2016 are going up in 49 out of 50 states, while 17 states will face premium increases of 20 percent or more.
Fewer Jobs to Support Home Buying: One of the main provisions of Obamacare includes the employer and individual federal mandate to buy health insurance. All businesses with 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance to their employees or pay thousands in penalties to the IRS per employee. Individuals are also required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty of 2.5% of household income or $695, whichever is greater. Because of these mandates and other incentives stemming from Obamacare, millions of Americans are expected to leave the workforce or be reduced to part-time work. In addition, over the next ten years, Obamacare will levy over $1 trillion in new taxes and fees. Some of these taxes, like the 3.8% surtax on “high income” individuals, will directly hurt the housing market since the tax will apply to unearned income like capital gains and revenue generated from the sale of people’s homes.
The combination of Obamacare mandates, regulations, and taxes make it increasingly difficult for Americans to start a new business or grow their current business. This kind of economic environment will have a negative effect on the real estate market and ultimately hurt realtors as less Americans have the means to purchase a house.
Solution: Congress should fully repeal Obamacare and enact patient-centered, market-based health care reform that empowers individuals, families, and businesses to determine and purchase the health insurance that’s right for them. Congress should also equalize the tax treatment and federal mandates on health insurance that favor big businesses over small businesses/self-employed. This will provide realtors with more choice and potentially lower cost. Ridding the health insurance industry of government regulations and mandates will allow a free and competitive market to provide the insurance and health care services Americans want and need.