Betsy McCaughey digs into some of the details on the effects on business of Massachusetts’ brave, new health insurance experiment:
Say, for example, you open a restaurant and don’t provide health coverage. If the chef’s spouse or child is rushed to the hospital and can’t pay because they don’t have insurance, you – the employer – are responsible for up to 100% of the cost of that medical care. There is no cap on your obligation. Once the costs reach $50,000, the state will start billing you and fine you $5,000 a week for every week you are late in filling out the paperwork on your uncovered employees (Section 44). These provisions are onerous enough to motivate the owners of small businesses to limit their full-time workforce to 10 people, or even to lay employees off.
What else is surprising about this new law? Union shops are exempt (Section 32).
Of course, in states like Maryland (where I live), the possibility of killing off jobs in small businesses would hardly deter the passage of similar laws. As far as politicians here are concerned, undermining the private economy is not a legislative bug. It’s a feature.