When the Supreme Court upheld the Obamacare law last year, many pundits set about predicting the winners and losers among healthcare stocks.
Now that full implementation of the Affordable Care Act is less than a year away, it's starting to look like the law will produce mostly losers.
Fallout from Obamacare has had a negative impact on the first-quarter earnings of many healthcare companies, a bad sign with so much time left before the law hits full force.
So far, we've seen disappointing reports from healthcare stocks in areas as diverse as medical testing, hospitals, insurers, and medical device makers.
"It's still early in the reporting season, but so far, it all points to softness," David Heupel, senior healthcare analyst at Thrivent Investment Management, told Reuters.
Obamacare's War on Full-Time Jobs Will Sucker Punch Economy
Obamacare's rules regarding hours worked and employer-sponsored healthcare coverage have entire industries looking at cutting down on their number of full-time employees in favor of more part-time employees.
Large industries affected include hotels, restaurants and retailers, as well as small businesses of all stripes.
In essence, the hefty financial burden imposed by Obamacare for having too many full-time employees is creating a huge incentive for many employers to cut workers' hours, or, in some cases, avoid hiring altogether.
Tens of millions of American workers are at risk of being denied employer-sponsored health insurance as a result, and will end up with less pay to boot.
It could be a disaster for the still-lagging U.S. economy.
"If you want to have reduced work, lower wages and economic stagnation, this is a great way to do it," Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told FOX News.
How Obamacare Navigators Will Waste Your Time and Tax Money
The insurance exchanges mandated by the 2009 health care law will be so utterly baffling that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now needs to hire of tens of thousands of "Obamacare navigators" - at a cost to taxpayers of $9 billion or more every year.
Anyone who uses the new exchanges will quickly find out why Obamacare navigators were deemed necessary.
The draft application form for an individual is already up to 15 pages, while the form for a family is at 21 pages. And the instruction book is 61 pages.
"It's a lot of information that consumers are going to have to provide, and that could deter people from signing up," Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, told MarketWatch. "That could be an issue for some people who don't like paperwork. And who likes paperwork?"
The government estimates the form will take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes to complete, but that doesn't count all the information and document-gathering an applicant will need to do before even walking in the door of an exchange.
"If you like IRS forms, you're going to love this one," Ken Hoagland, chairman of conservative advocacy group Restore America's Voice, told MarketWatch. "These are the kinds of things that are going to drive people crazy."
Just How Big Will Your "Obamacare Surprise" Be?…Wait Until You See This Chart
When touting his signature healthcare reform law, the "Affordable Care Act," President Barack Obama promised it would "cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."
But a new congressional study says Obamacare has, in fact, increased the average family premium by $3,000 - and that's before the most costly requirements of the law take effect next year.
"Higher healthcare premiums are the last thing single young adults and working families can afford," the report stated. "Yet contrary to what the president promised, that is exactly what Obamacare is projected to do."
The Real Cost of Obamacare
Like it or not, in less than a year - January 2014 - the core of U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare reform goes into effect - and recent data show the cost of Obamacare will be quite high.
The statistics are startling, seeing as the intent of Obamacare was to reduce overall medical costs in the country - one big reason government spending is running wild - by improving access to treatment for Americans. An additional 30 million Americans are expected to be covered under Obamacare.
But new reports estimate the new healthcare system could cost about $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years.
That means the original outcome - which President Obama said would be to "cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year" - is far from reality.
Here's a breakdown of what Obamacare will really cost you - and your job could be included.
The 7 Biggest Obamacare Lies
As more of the 2009 healthcare reform law becomes reality, Americans are learning the hard way that many of the biggest Obamacare promises were Obamacare lies.
In retailing, they call this sort of thing "bait-and-switch," and it's against the law.
In Washington, it's called "business as usual."
During his first campaign for the highest elected office in the land, and later as he sought to push the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through Congress, U.S. President Barack Obama made a lot of enticing promises.
Some of these claims were true - under Obamacare, people can't be refused coverage for pre-existing conditions, for example - but many were assurances to the average American that no matter what, healthcare reform was almost all positive with few or no negatives.
Now we know that most of those assurances were Obamacare lies.
Romneycare vs. Obamacare: Insurance Companies Win Either Way
Insurance companies would love to see a Mitt Romney victory in November that would result in the arrival of "Romneycare."
But they'd be equally happy if President Barack Obama is re-elected and his Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land.
In short, the insurance companies will profit either way and are planning accordingly.
But how is this possible?
By extending insurance to millions of people previously without coverage Obamacare will provide insurance companies with millions of new customers, a development that clearly will boost their bottom lines.
Romney has promised to dismantle Obamacare and replace it with his own "Romneycare," but don't mistake this new version for the comprehensive reform plan he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts in 2006.
Romney says his new plan would free up the healthcare markets to increase competition and drive down costs.
But this new incarnation of Romneycare -- perhaps more accurately described as Romneycare 2.0 -- is unlikely to contain healthcare costs and almost certainly will deliver fatter profits to private insurance companies.
"Under [Obamacare] reform, you get market expansion, and that's a good thing" for health companies, Dan Mendelson, the chief executive of Avalere Health, a consultancy told The Wall Street Journal.
"Under Romney, it's going to be like managed-care city," he said.
One thing is clear, however -- neither Obamacare nor Romneycare can stop Americans from getting older and swelling the rolls of government medical plans.
And that will spell huge profits for the companies who manage government programs.
Ryancare vs. Obamacare: The Future of Medicare is at Stake
When Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential nominee, the Medicare battle jumped to the front and center of election 2012.
First introduced in 2010, "The Ryan Budget" is a bold plan that attempts to reduce the deficit by drastically cutting spending-which some claim will "cripple" Medicare.
So what is the truth?....
Ryancare vs ObamacareThough the plans differ in ideology, Obamacare and Ryancare actually have some similarities.
In Ryan's plan, new enrollees after 2022 would have to choose between a private insurance plan and Medicare, making Medicare the "public option" that was so opposed in Obamacare.
Ryan's plan gives Medicare enrollees vouchers to choose from competing private insurance plans offered on a Medicare exchange. These exchanges closely resemble the exchanges in Obamacare that some Republican governors have refused to participate in.
And both plans basically "cut" the program by over $700 billion and set a growth cap on Medicare spending at GDP levels plus 0.5%.
The difference in the plans is how these cuts are made and why.
As Ezra Klein of the Washington Post says, "Democrats believe the best way to reform Medicare is to leave the program intact but vastly strengthen its ability to pay for quality. Republicans believe the best way to reform Medicare is to fracture the system between private plans and traditional Medicare and let competition do its work."
The only problem is that neither of these plans may do enough to fix Medicare.
The biggest misconception with Ryan's plan is that current senior citizens will be faced with outrageous healthcare costs.
That is simply not true.
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Warning: Hidden Obamacare Taxes Will Cost You More Than You Think
The bill for Obamacare is on its way, and guess what? It's addressed to you.
You see, all those great benefits included in the Affordable Care Act don't come cheap, which is why the new healthcare law includes a barrage of new "Obamacare taxes."
And don't believe for a second the new Obamacare taxes will hit only the "rich" or those making over $250,000.
Some do, but you'd be surprised at how many of these new taxes also hit the middle class.
Worse still, many of these new measures are disguised as taxes on businesses. The bulk of these "stealth taxes" will be transferred to consumers via higher prices for drugs and health insurance.
"The legislation imposes more than $569 billion in new or increased taxes, the vast majority of which will fall on businesses," writes Michael Tanner in a 2011 Cato Institute report on the impact of the healthcare law. "Many of those taxes, especially those on hospitals, insurers, and medical device manufacturers, will ultimately be passed on through higher health costs."
Even still, few realize just how many new taxes lurk within the law's 2,500-plus pages because most of the talk about the Affordable Care Act focused on the constitutionality of the individual mandate.
Of course, according to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, even that turned out to be a tax.
Obamacare Taxes You'll Pay DirectlyIn addition to the hidden Obamacare taxes, which we'll get to shortly, the law reaches directly into your pocket in several ways:
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