CNN Analyst: Many Companies Using Obamacare as 'Excuse' to Cut Employee Health Insurance

CNN's global economic analyst says many companies are just using Obamacare as an "excuse" to make employee health insurance cuts they already planned to make.

"[H]health care inflation is between seven and ten percent a year. And that's with or without Obamacare. So I do think that you're going to see a lot of companies using Obamacare and the ACA as an excuse to make changes in their plan that they might have been planning to make already," said Rana Foroohar on CNN Thursday afternoon.

Foroohar was discussing UPS dropping 15,000 employee spouses from its health insurance plan. UPS blamed "cost increases" from Obamacare for the move, but Foroohar thinks that similar cuts are pre-planned for many companies.

As Time's assistant managing editor for economics and business, Foroohar holds some interesting economic principles.

After one of the presidential debates last year, she attacked Romney's tax plan: "There's a bigger math issue here, and that's whether or not lowering tax rates actually creates jobs and growth, and I would argue that, factually, it doesn't."

She did, however, give credence to Obama's plans for stimulus and pointed to communist China as an example:

"I think what the President tried to convince voters, is that investment is going to create growth...and I think that there's a case to be made for that. If you look at where jobs are going - to places like China - infrastructure spending is much higher. There's a lot more investment in those, sort of, basic competitiveness issues."

Last July on Face the Nation, Foroohar reiterated that argument and thought it "sad" that taxes were mentioned so much during the 2012 campaign:

"Well, I think that the President would like to spend a lot more on infrastructure and education. This is what we need to be talking about right now. I'm actually sad that we're spending so much time talking about taxes because one thing that's not going to get us some kind of a growth boom is a tax cut. I mean, it hasn't worked in the last three or four years. It really hasn't worked since 2001 when you had much broader across-the-board tax cuts."

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on August 22 at 2:38 p.m. EDT:

DON LEMON: I also want to ask you about UPS's, the big change in employee health insurance. If you're a non-employee and your husband or wife works, UPS plans to kick your spouse off its medical plan and the company's blaming Obamacare. Is that the way of the future? And is that the full story? Or are they just looking for a scapegoat?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN global economic analyst: Well, A, it is the way of the future. Speaking about college price inflation, health care inflation is between seven and ten percent a year. And that's with or without Obamacare. So I do think that you're going to see a lot of companies using Obamacare and the ACA as an excuse to make changes in their plan that they might have been planning to make already. In fact there was a big survey of a bunch of Fortune 500 firms, about four percent are planning similar changes this year, eight percent in 2014. And one interesting point is that women of childbearing age tend to drive up health care costs. And that may be one reason that you'll see a lot of companies opting to push spouses off if they can.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014