The Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 18
For much of the six years since it went into effect, the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been ideological and partisan. But now, with its most substantive provisions kicking in, the debate will be about its real-world effects on health care costs, employment and business competitiveness.
Many employers and individuals are finding that the law’s promise of “bending the cost curve” rings hollow.
Owners of businesses employing between 50 and 99 workers will feel the pointy end of the law this year because, for the first time, they are subject to penalties for failure to provide health insurance to their employees; $2,160 per worker. And even those who have provided health coverage for years are feeling the sting: The owners of Weiland’s Market in Clintonville, Jennifer Williams and Scott Bowman, say their health-insurance costs shot up 34 percent this year over last.
“We’ve seen big increases every year, but that’s the biggest we’ve seen,” Williams recently told The Dispatch. “It was a tough pill to swallow.”
These pressures could force business owners already working on small profit margins to raise costs to customers. If customers balk and go elsewhere, that could lead to hiring freezes, layoffs and even a shutdown of a small, locally owned business…
Akron Beacon Journal, Jan. 14
President Obama often faces the criticism, from the Republican presidential campaign trail and elsewhere, about failing to see fully the threat posed by the Islamic State. Those critics argue that the country must go to war. They overlook that the president already has responded with military might. Air strikes began more than a year ago.
Those strikes have been indispensable to slowing and reversing gains made on the ground by the Islamic State. The president also has deployed special forces. Are those steps aggressive enough? That is the realm for debate, including the question of what should be expected of this country when the fight lacks a sufficient fighting force from the Arab region to counter the Islamic State.
And what better place for a discussion than Capitol Hill? Unfortunately, the Republican majorities in Congress have resisted calls for lawmakers to authorize a war. The president has relied on the authority provided by lawmakers in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, now 14 years ago. As he put it last month in speaking to the nation in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks and reiterated this week, Congress should act “to demonstrate that the American people are united and committed to this fight…”