In a stunning PR coup, the Obama Administration has decided to oppose Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s injunction regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor and their refusal to provide abortifacients and contraceptives.

It is truly amazing how tone deaf this administration is on certain issues.  As Charles Krauthammer so eloquently stated, “The Obama Administration’s Justice Department couldn’t even go after the Big Sisters of the Poor.  They had to go after the Little Sisters of the Poor. “

When one of the most liberal justices on the Supreme Court (who just happens to be Catholic) rules against the administration, you would think they would get it.  But Solicitor General Donald Verrilli states the Little Sisters of the Poor’s claim has no legal basis.  I would suggest that Mr. Verrilli should rethink his position.  Whether or not the court rules in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, I predict this will turn into a PR nightmare for ObamaCare and the administration which, in the long run, they will lose.

What employers can expect in 2014 is the implementation of the employer mandate, requiring those businesses with more than 49 employees to implement health insurance unless their employees only work 29 hours.  We have already seen companies like Kohl’s, Forever 21 and others eliminate full time staff to get under this ruling, and I predict there will be significantly more of the same as we move closer to the implementation of the employer mandate in 2014.  In addition, there are also new companies cropping up that will assist employers in avoiding implementation of the employer mandate.

Expect to see small group health insurance costs rise significantly next year, especially if the individual mandate and the healthcare exchange continue to experience the problems they face now with only 2.1 million people enrolled to date, most of whom are 50 plus with chronic medical conditions.  It is highly unlikely we are going to reach the necessary 7 million enrollees by March of this year.  The much-anticipated flood of young, healthy enrollees is a trickle at best, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel suggesting they will flock to ObamaCare like lemmings to the sea.

In short, be sure some of the claims losses will be absorbed by the government as it has to reimburse carriers for certain shortfalls.  And the rest will be shifted to other policy holders in the employer benefits space.  Not good news for a struggling economy with 90 million Americans out of work.  The progressives’ dream of using ObamaCare to move us closer to a single-payer system has gone down in flames.

Cary Hall

America’s Healthcare Advocate