According to a new report released by the House Ways and Means Committee, the estimated time Americans will spend on paperwork in order to comply with the new Affordable Care Act will total more than 127 million hours…each year.
The report was based on numbers released by the Administration’s own Office of Management and Budget and Internal Revenue Service, and detailed exactly how the time will be spent, including such items as surveys, applications, tax forms, and appeals.
As highlighted in a recent article in the Washington Examiner, if those hours were compensated by the current minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour, it will cost more than $1 billion. The majority of those paid by businesses or individuals to assist with compliance to the Affordable Care Act earn far more than the minimum wage.
Per the Washington Examiner:
Put another way: The Empire State building, which took 7 million hours to build, could be erected another 17 times in the time required every year to handle Obamacare rules and regulations.
The article continues:
“With many rules and regulations yet to come, these 127 million burden hours – many of them due to complying with new taxes – are just the tip of the iceberg,” warned Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dave Camp. “The regulatory tsunami generated by Obamacare is forcing employers to spend time and money complying with the dictates of a government takeover of health care instead of creating jobs and investing in our economy,” said Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline. “This is valuable time that could be used to run businesses, create jobs, and grow the economy,” added Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Fred Upton.
The Republican-run committees noted that the costs could be crushing to small businesses that don’t employ lawyers and compliance officers like major industries. “Since many small businesses do not employ in-house lawyers and accountants, compliance costs are especially expensive and burdensome. Given the new demands of complying with the law, it is not surprising that over 70 percent of small businesses cite the health care law as a major obstacle to job creation,” said the report.
Given that all of that time could be spent on innovation, growth, and other forms of economic contribution, the 127 million hours needed just to comply with the current legislation will literally be a waste of time. Combined with a new report by the CBO citing the fact that nearly 7 million people will actually lose healthcare insurance due to the implementation of the law, many of the original health care law’s supporters are beginning to wonder if the expected long-term benefits will be worth the short-term trouble.
Justin Vélez-Hagan is the National Executive Director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and an Adjunct Instructor of Economics at the University of Maryland-University College. He is also the Sr. Contributing Writer for Politic365 and can be reached at Justin@Politic365.com or @JVelezHagan.